The Narcotic Prescription Epidemic–Part II

2) the other major development in medicine was the correct general realization that we were truly not treating pain sufficiently in certain groups of patients. I can remember that prejudice toward chronic pain patients especially the back pain patients whom everyone but dreaded treating, as they very often bore out the vein that led to addiction as sure as shootin’ as we would say in the Southwest. A back injury, or back then a whiplash neck injury occurred that often unfortunately was minor. In a sizeable number of patients it was major, required surgery and was demonstrably real. But the majority of back injuries did not respond consistently or very successfully to surgical interventions. Subsequently the overwhelming majority of long term review studies retroactively done at many reputable neurosurgical and orthopedic meccas have shown again and again that back surgery often does little or nothing to ameliorate or relieve chronic back pain. In fact the more conservative measures, though not curative by any measure, even, “shudder,” chiropracty had more salutary effects in “managing” reasonably this chronic condition. Acupuncture, heat treatments, TENS unit local stimulation, nerve blocks and intra-dura or nerve root exit injections of depot local anesthetics and anti-inflammatories did more. The term “failed back syndrome’ came into vogue and helped to group together and target this suffering group of patients.

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