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For Back Pain or Headache, Painkillers Do More Harm Than Good

Using Opioid for Headache

Story at-a-glance -

  • The American Academy of Neurology has released a new position statement on opioids, highlighting the problems of overuse
  • The report notes that while such drugs may offer short-term relief for non-cancer chronic pain such as back pain, headaches, migraines, and fibromyalgia, they cause more harm than good over time
  • Over 100,000 people have died, directly or indirectly, from prescribed opioids in the US since the late 1990s
  • In the highest-risk group (those between the ages of 35 and 54), deaths from opioids exceed deaths from both firearms and motor vehicle accidents
  • If you are struggling with severe or chronic pain, see a pain specialist who is familiar with alternative treatments and exhaust all options before resorting to prescription opioids

By Dr. Mercola

In the 1940s, opioid-based narcotics like opium and heroin were popular drugs of abuse, which lead to strict controls being put into place to curb their use. Regulations existed to control who could prescribe opioids and at what doses; breaches to the regulations could lead to a loss of your medical license or criminal prosecution.


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