The researchers also mimicked the findings in mice, compressing the animal’s sciatic nerve to cause back and leg pain, or injecting the sciatic nerve with irritability. When they suppressed the animal’s immune response to dexamethasone, a steroid commonly used to treat back pain, the pain became chronic.
Six tips for treating chronic pain
Then, the group questioned whether chronic pain was caused by suppressing pain or by suppressing inflammation. So they gave some mice a prescription anti-inflammatory, diclofenac. The other mice received one of three other analgesics, or painkillers – gabapentin, morphine and lidocaine.
Only with diclofenac does the pain persist, becoming chronic.
These results led them to ask: Were patients who used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or steroids such as dexamethasone to relieve their back pain more likely to have chronic pain?
The researchers cited data from the UK Biobank, which collects information on the medical conditions and drug use of half a million patients. They studied 2,163 people with severe back pain, of whom 461 had chronic pain. Researchers have found that people who take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are almost twice as likely to have chronic back pain as those who take other drugs or do not take any other drugs.
Dr Diatchenko said she did not think her findings were related to the problem of opium addiction. In fact, he said, “to avoid opioids, doctors have started prescribing more non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.”
“We need to think more about how to treat our patients,” he said.
Despite the unhealthy performance, the trend of using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs remains. Analysis of randomized clinical trials has shown that these drugs have almost no placebo benefit in reducing back pain.
Dr Atlas says short-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may not be harmful, but new research does not rule out long-term use, adding that “at least one biological mechanism provides It does say that short-term use is not harmful, as well as long-term use. “