Are Chronic Neck Pain Narcotics and Diagnostics Over Used?

About 10 percent neck pain are chronic by nature. Researchers at Duke University and University of North Carolina (UNC) have now found that clinicians are relying more on the Narcotics and Diagnostics to treat this condition instead of trying out other options like therapeutic exercise.

Only 53 percent patients are allowed to follow other treatment types. The results of their findings will be presented in the November 2010 issue of the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

What Latest Research Learnt About Chronic Neck Pain?

  • This type of pain is known to respond less to treatment apart from proving costly to the patients and their family members.
  • The study found that 2.2 percent of patients from North Carolina ave this pain.
  • More than half (56 percent) of the 135 patients who participated the study were women and in 81 percent cases they were from non-Hispanic white origin.
  • The average duration of the pain suffered was for 6.9 years, which involved the patients seeing five different types of doctors and visiting the clinic on ambulance for 21 times.
  • In 45 percent patients spinal radiographs tests were done, 30 percent patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging and 24 percent patients had computed tomography.
  • But, experts opine that in patients with a long history of this pain, the effectiveness of these imaging techniques reduce over time.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were prescribed o 56 percent patients, 29 percent of them took strong narcotics and 23 percent had weak narcotics to reduce neck pain chronic in nature.
  • Reliable sources which can report of the effectiveness of these medications in treating the condition are limited in number however.
  • 57 percent participants used superficial heat, 53 percent of them used prescribed exercise, 47 percent of them used cold, 36 percent of them used spinal manipulation and therapeutic massage was tried by 28 percent people.
  • The results of the study made it is clear that while narcotics and diagnostic techniques were over-used, there were several other potentially useful treatments which were under-used in treating chronic neck pain.

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