Musculoskeletal pain is one of the most common reasons adults visit their primary care physician, an office encounter that typically starts with a discussion of the patient’s symptoms and physical function, continues with advice from the physician to lose weight and engage in rehabilitation exercises, and concludes with a prescription, initially for acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine but often escalating to muscle relaxants and opiates. For many patients, an ongoing cycle of physician and physical therapy visits, pill bottles, and discomfort result, without ever settling on a plan that effectively manages their pain.
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