How the Opioid Crisis is Bringing About More Pain Research
There seems to be very little that can be said that’s positive about the current opioid crisis in the US, except that perhaps the country is finally getting to grips with it. One of the positives though about the hold opioids currently seem to have over the nation is that more research about pain is being undertaken than ever before. In both 2018 and 2019, US Congress appropriated almost one billion dollars to the National Institutes of Health with the aim of reducing the nation’s dependence upon opioids to combat pain relief.
By Understanding More About Pain, it is Hoped That Better Pain Relief Methodologies Will be Discovered
The leading cause of disability in the United States is – it may surprise you to learn – arthritis. More than 78 million people in the US will be suffering from arthritis by 2040. Annually, $300 billion is lost via expenses and lost income by people in the US who have arthritis.
Arthritis is a painful condition for which in many cases surgery is either not an option or an extreme one. It affects the joints, particularly in the hands, knees and hips. For many people, the only way that they can live a normal, pain free life is via painkilling medication.
Research into arthritis in not typically extensive because it is a manageable condition and not a fatal one, but now that funding is available to look into different ways of dealing with pain other than with medication, the research undertaken is beginning to increase.
The Medical World is Looking Beyond Opioids as a Way of Managing Pain
“Pain is complex,” said Dr. Brett Smith, a rheumatologist at the Blount Memorial Physicians Group in Tennessee. “Our understanding of pain continues to grow, and the more we learn, the more we realize how multifactorial pain is and how multifaceted the approach needs to be for optimal outcomes.”
Alternative pain management techniques investigated so far include the use of steroids, exercise, improved diets and even meditation. It is perhaps unfortunate that it has taken a nationwide opioid abuse epidemic for pain management research to be taken seriously.
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