Can opioids ease acute neck or lower-back pain?

Researchers randomly assigned 310 adults with neck or lower-back pain that had started during the previous 12 weeks to take a placebo or oxycodone plus naloxone. (Injected naloxone counteracts opioids, but it’s poorly absorbed from pills, and it helps prevent constipation.)

After six weeks, pain scores did not differ between groups. After a year, scores were slightly worse in the opioid group, and more opioid takers (20 percent) than placebo takers (10 percent) were at risk for opioid misuse (based on anger, seeking more medication, ER visits, etc.).

What to do

Avoid opioids to treat acute lower-back or neck pain, given their failure to help and the risk of dependency. In earlier studies, opioids also showed no clear benefit for chronic lower-back pain.

HCK soups book cover


The Healthy Cook's Kitchen: Soup

The supermarket is full of canned soups. But, as far as your health...and your taste buds...are concerned, none can hold a candle to this collection of Healthy Cook Kate Sherwood’s favorite soup recipes. Not only are they lick-the-bowl delicious; they’re packed with vegetables, beans, and lentils. And Kate shows you tricks—Creamy Vegetable Soup without cream, Chicken Tortilla Soup using a store-bought rotisserie chicken—that will help you up your soup game.

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