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June 20, 2017

Management of Chronic Pain in the Aftermath of the Opioid Backlash

Author Affiliations
  • 1VA Health Services Research and Development Service Center for Health Information and Communication, Indiana University School of Medicine, and Regenstrief Institute Inc, Indianapolis
  • 2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
JAMA. 2017;317(23):2365-2366. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.4884

Chronic pain is a prevalent, disabling, and costly condition.1 In the United States alone, an estimated 126 million adults reported some pain in the previous 3 months, with 25.3 million adults (11.2%) reporting daily (chronic) pain and 23.4 million (10.3%) a lot of pain.2 Three musculoskeletal pain disorders—low back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis—are among the leading 9 causes of disability and together with migraine headache and other musculoskeletal disorders account for 9.7 million years lived with disability compared with only 8.8 million years lived with disability produced by the 12 leading causes of medical disability combined.3 Low back pain is the leading cause of years lived with disability both in the United States and globally and accounts for one-third of all work loss. Chronic pain costs the United States an estimated $560 to $635 billion annually.1 Regrettably, National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for pain research declined sharply from 2003 to 2007 by an average of 9% per year, and the federal response to a 2011 Institute of Medicine report1 on pain in the United States has been limited and disproportionally focused on reducing opioid use rather than increasing pain relief.