In a recent article in Orthopedics Today, the risks for chronic opioid use/ abuse were discussed by Dr. Jasmin Moshfegh. In a published article in The Annals of Internal Medicine 2018, Dr. Moshfegh stated “Musculoskeletal pain is a common condition and patients who have it may transition to chronic opioid use”.

Moshfegh and colleagues reviewed data from the IBM database in patients between 18-64 years of age recently diagnosed with an orthopedic problem.

They found the risk for chronic opioid use/ abuse was highest in patients with:

  • multiple sites of pain (1.5%)
  • low back pain (1.4%)
  • neck pain (.43%).
opioid use

The authors suggest limiting use of opioids in patients who have these risk factors and using other medications (Ibuprofen, Naprosyn).

opioid use

As a spine provider, I take care of low back pain and neck pain daily. Often, these patients have multiple body parts that hurt. This patient group is at increased risk of long-term opioid use and possible abuse.

While philosophically, decreasing pain is a goal, helping the patient is the main objective.

As times have changed, saying “NO” to requests for opioids has become more common. In certain patients, saying “no” is the right thing to do.

opioid use