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Spinal Surgery is Not the Answer for Pain

People with chronic back pain sometimes consider lumbar fusion surgery to reduce their dependence on pain medications, particularly opioids. But a new study has found that more than three-quarters of spinal fusion patients continue taking opioids for pain post-surgery. Spinal fusion surgery corrects issues with the spinal vertebrae by fusing painful or damaged vertebrae into one solid bone ó in a process similar to welding the bones together. Many patients choose this invasive procedure because they believe it will relieve their need to take opioids for pain. However, a study published in the journal PAIN, discovered that 14 percent of patients who underwent spinal fusion still used opioids for occasional pain and a significant 77 percent continued to use them long-term. Only 9 percent of spinal fusion patients were able to discontinue their use of opioids completely. Dr. Richard Deyo of Oregon Health and Science and his colleagues used Oregonís program for monitoring prescription drugs to determine the opioid dosages used by patients before and after the surgery.† Interestingly, of the patients who were prescribed opioids pre-surgery, only 34 percent of them were able to lower their dosage afterwards. Forty-five percent actually received a higher dose after undergoing spinal fusion.† After studying the data, Dr. Devo concluded that the higher the dosage of opioids before surgery, the more likely the patient would continue to use them afterward. Before considering an invasive treatment like spinal fusion, see a chiropractor for effective, drug-free pain management options.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: PAIN, online March 6, 2018.

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