Osteoarthritis and back pain are too often prescribed opioids
Osteoarthritis and back pain are treated far too often with opioids such as morphine, explained the head of pain medicine at the Bergmannsheil University Hospital in Bochum, Professor Christoph Maier, in an interview with the “Apotheken Umschau”. The administration of the strong painkillers could even threaten their condition.
Today, doctors prescribe around twice as many opioids for pain as 10 years ago, the pain medic reports. There was indeed a need to catch up, especially among cancer patients, but they hardly benefit from the increased use of opioids. Rather, the increase is due to the increasing use of painkillers in the treatment of back and osteoarthritis pain. For Professor Maier, this is an occasion for violent criticism of prescription practice for opioids. Because "in extreme cases, the opioids even aggravate the pain and lead to addiction," explained Maier. To ensure that their own doctor has the necessary experience for the treatment of pain, patients should pay attention to the additional designation "special pain therapy" when choosing a doctor, which only specialists after 12 months of advanced training may lead, the expert reports. The term pain therapist, however, is not protected.
Controversial use of pain relievers
The treatment of pain with pain relievers is generally controversial, since they are often used quite lightly and there are considerable side effects. This applies to both over the counter and prescription pain relievers. The widely used self-therapy of complaints such as headaches or body aches with over-the-counter medicines is particularly critical here. Not only because there are significant side effects and errors in the dosage, but also because there is no medical diagnosis of the pain and so serious illnesses that trigger the symptoms may go undetected.
Gerhard Müller-Schwefe, President of the German Society for Pain Therapy, has repeatedly pointed out the risks of over-the-counter pain relievers in the past and also made it clear that all of these drugs interfere with enzyme systems that the body uses for numerous regulating mechanisms, such as for needs the kidney's salt and fluid balance. According to the expert, instead of medicines, alternative forms of treatment from naturopathy can significantly reduce pain. A cold pad or peppermint oil on the temples help against general headaches, relaxation methods and acupuncture can be used against tension headaches, bio-feedback procedures and lots of exercise promise to remedy migraines. (fp)
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