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NIH Study Shows Patients with Newly Diagnosed Musculoskeletal Pain Prescribed Opioids More Often Than Recommended

Patients experiencing newly diagnosed chronic musculoskeletal pain are prescribed opioids more often than other nonpharmacologic approaches during their first physician visit a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) study reports.

Patients experiencing newly diagnosed chronic musculoskeletal pain are prescribed opioids more often than other nonpharmacologic approaches during their first physician visit a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) study reports.

Findings from the study, “Management of Patients with a Musculoskeletal Pain Condition that is Likely Chronis: Results from a National Cross Sectional Survey,” published in the Journal of Pain, revealed provider specialty was associated with treatment approaches as internists, orthopedists and neurologists were less likely than family practitioners to prescribe opioids.

Investigators used data from 11,994 from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, 2007–2015. On Initial visits, patients were prescribed nonopioid medication 40.2% of the time, opioids 21.5%, and nonpharmacologic treatments 14.3%. The most common nonopioid medication prescribed was NSAIDS prescribed 31.1% of initial visits.

Because oral health professionals are at an elevated risk of musculoskeletal disorders, they must be well informed of proper ergonomics and treatment approaches. Read more about nonpharmacologic approaches in Dimensions of Dental Hygiene’s article “Musculoskeletal Health: When to Seek Professional Help

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