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Narcotics and diagnostics overused in treatment of chronic neck pain
Date:10/27/2010

The study reported that participants received 1.6 diagnostic tests such as spinal radiographs (45%), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI-30%), and computed tomography (CT-24%) scans. In the prior year, subjects who received X-rays of the spine had an average of two different sets taken which the authors noted to be inconsistent with clinical decision-making guidelines for diagnostic imaging. "For patients with such a long disease duration, the likelihood that imaging techniques would offer clinically important inferences may decrease," explained Dr. Goode.

More than 56% of subjects in the study used over-the-counter medications (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), 29% reported taking strong narcotics (MS contin, oxycodone), and 23% used weak narcotics (codeine, propoxyphene) for their chronic neck pain. The authors reported that medical evidence on the effectiveness of medications in the treatment of chronic neck pain is quite limited, based on systematic reviews published in The Cochrane Library and The Bone and Joint Decade (BJD) 2000 2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders: Noninvasive Interventions for Neck Pain.

"Rehabilitation conditioning and acupuncture studies have shown to be effective treatments that were less frequently used by patients with chronic neck pain," Dr. Goode said.

The most commonly used treatments by study participants were superficial heat (57%), prescribed exercise (53%), cold (47%), spinal manipulation (36%), and therapeutic massage (28%). "Our sample population had a high degree of disability, despite using a number of diagnostics and treatments. Based on current evidence, several treatments were over-used, and some effective treatments were under-used," concluded Dr. Goode.


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Contact: Dawn Peters
healthnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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