10 New Pain Management Studies
1. Athletes' higher pain tolerance may pave the way for pain management research. Researchers have found that athletes can tolerate a higher level of pain than normally active people. The findings, published in the June issue of Pain, indicated that athletes involved in game sports had a higher tolerance for pain than other athletes. Results varied widely, suggesting that endurance athletes have more similar physical and psychological profiles, while athletes involved in game sports are more diverse.
2. Lower back treatment is most effective during the first six weeks. Patients who receive treatment for chronic and lower back pain show significant improvement in the first six weeks, but may still have some pain and disability after one year. Researchers analyzed data from 33 studies that included more than 11,000 patients to determine how treatment affects lower back pain. One year after beginning treatment, the typical improvement in pain intensity was about 90 percent for patients who had acute lower back pain and 50 percent for patients who had chronic lower back pain.
3. Opioid use and hypogonadism appear to be linked. The first study to show a safety difference between short and long-acting opioids also revealed a link between testosterone levels among men using the opioids daily to treat chronic pain. Nearly three-fourths of patients taking long-acting opioids on a daily basis were found to be hypogonadal, compared with a third of men on short-acting agents, the study found. Researchers also found a "small" association between testosterone level and body mass index.
4. Lyrica is no more effective than placebo painkillers. In two studies — an HIV neuropathy study and a peripheral diabetic neuropathy study — patients were given Lyrica for six weeks and then switched to either a placebo or continued using Lyrica for 13 weeks. Pfizer said that patients who took Lyrica continued to show improvements, but they were not significantly different from those seen in the placebo group.
5. Pregabalin bridges the gap in treating spinal cord injury pain. Results from a randomized clinical study show that the anticonvulsant drug pregabalin provides rapid relief from pain and pain-related sleep disturbance in patients with spinal cord injuries. The study lays groundwork to fill a treatment gap for spinal cord injury patients.
6. Patients with celiac disease are more likely to suffer from migraines. Researchers analyzed 502 people over the course of a year. Chronic headaches were reported by 56 percent of gluten-sensitive participants, 30 percent of those with celiac disease and 23 percent of those with inflammatory bowel disease, while only 14 percent of the control group reported headaches.
7. Pre-op educational videos may reduce patient pain. Lung cancer patients who watched a 30-minute preparation video reported less physical pain after the operation. The video covered pain management issues and discussed warning signs for possible problems following discharge and where patients should go for help.
8. Steroid injections are no more effective than a placebo in treating back pain. Researchers tested 84 adults who experience back pain in the last six months. Participants received one of three injections given two weeks apart: steroids, etanercept or a placebo saline solution. All three groups reported a decrease in leg and back pain. Steroids may provide a short-term analgesic effect, researchers said, but the patients' overall improvement was mainly due to normal healing, according to the study authors.
9. Most patients take incorrect dosages of prescription drugs. Researchers surveyed nearly 76,000 laboratory tests and found that 63 percent of patient actions around prescription drug dosages were inconsistent with clinician orders, either missing doses or combining medications with other drugs without their physician's knowledge. Among the highest rates of inconsistency with clinician orders were oxycodone (44 percent), central nervous system depressants including alprazolam (50 percent) and the stimulant amphetamine (48 percent).
10. PAP injections are more effective than acupuncture for pain relief. Researchers injected prostatic acid phosphatas into the soft tissue area behind patients' knees and noted that pain relief lasted 100 times longer than relief from a traditional acupuncture treatment. A single injection was also effective at reducing symptoms associated with inflammatory pain and neuropathic pain.
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