HealthDay News Adults with chronic pain use a variety of pain management strategies, including opioids, but the majority use nonopioid management techniques, according to a research letter published online Feb. 7 in JAMA Network Open.

Cornelius B. Groenewald, M.B., Ch.B., from the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, and colleagues examined the use of pain management techniques for chronic pain among adults using data from the 2019 National Health Interview Survey. Data were included for 31,916 participants (64% female).

The researchers found that 54.7% of adults with chronic pain only used nonopioid pain management techniques, while 10.7, 4.4, and 30.2% used both opioids and nonopioid techniques, used opioids only, and did not report any pain management techniques during the past 3 months. Complementary therapies represented the most commonly used nonopioid pain management technique, and were used by 35.4% of participants, followed by physical, occupational, or rehabilitative therapies, which were used by 18.8%. Psychological or psychotherapeutic interventions were only used by 3.8%. Self-management programs and chronic pain peer support groups were used by 5.1 and 1.8%, respectively. Overall, 39.1% of adults reported using pain approaches not captured in this data set. Prescription opioid use was more common among older adults and among women versus men.


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“Nonpharmacologic and nonopioid pharmacologic therapies are preferred treatments for chronic pain, and it is encouraging to note that most adults with chronic pain use a combination of various nonopioid modalities for treatment,” the authors write.

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