Thursday 8 December 2022
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Opioid Prescriptions Causing Problems Across the Country

At some point in their lives, approximately 80% of the population will experience back pain. For those in central New York, that number might be even larger.

Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield released a study stating that there has been a recent increase in the amount of back pain surgeries and use of prescription painkillers, despite easier solutions like over-the-counter medication and exercise. reports that over a three year period, from 2010 to 2013, there was a 10% increase in back pain reports. Over 50% of all people suffering with varying degrees of back pain were prescribed opioid painkillers.

These painkillers present serious problems of their own, and according to Business Insider, opioid painkillers take more lives than heroin.

Douglas Nemecek, chief medical officer of behavioral health at Cigna, said, “Unlike what we see in other chronic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, there currently exists no road map of evidence-based best practices for physicians to follow to effectively and efficiently treat substance use disorders like opioid addiction.”

From 2000 to 2014, almost half a million people died from opioid overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the largest increase during that period came from 2013 to 2014, when the death rates jumped 14%.

Despite the recent opioid epidemic in the U.S., lawmakers are taking steps in the right direction to at least limit the amount of physicians prescribing the dangerous drugs, which could lead to addiction and abuse.

According to CBS News, since 2013 — despite a rise in opioid-related deaths — 49 states have decreased their amount of opioid prescriptions.

The BlueCross report recommends people suffering with back pain to use pillows between knees while sleeping, limit the amount of time spent in bed, exercise, and consult a chiropractor, physical therapist, or doctor.