Study: Use of Nonopioid Pain Treatment Rises Significantly From 2011 to 2019

Physical and occupational therapy made significant gains in prevalence for both chronic and post-surgery pain treatment.

In this review: Trends in the Use of Opioids vs Nonpharmacologic Treatments in Adults With Pain, 2011-2019 (JAMA Network Open)

The Message

A study of more than 45,000 adults who experienced chronic or surgery-related pain has revealed that progress is being made toward increased use of nonpharmacologic approaches to treatment. The most dramatic shifts were associated with chronic pain, where the percentage of patients opting for purely nonpharmacologic approaches more than doubled, from around 20% in 2011 to 43.8% in 2019. Physical therapy saw some of the most significant gains in both the chronic pain and post-surgery categories, with chiropractic treatments and massage therapy also increasing in use. The results point to a trend APTA has amplified through its public awareness campaigns, particularly the association's #ChoosePT efforts. The study also arrives on the heels of recent updates to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's clinical guidelines around prescribing opioids for pain, which urges clinicians to maximize the use of nonopioid treatment as a first-line option.  

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