Multiple Chronic Conditions Blog

Alternatives to Opioids for Somatic Pain

Tuesday, 13 September 2016 05:58 / by Dr Kim Kuebler

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), early this year released the national guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. The primary objective for this guideline is to direct provider and patient communication about the benefits and risks of opioid therapy, improve the safety and effectiveness of pain treatment and reduce the overall risks associated with long-term opioid use.

This evidence-based practice guideline suggests the use of non-pharmacological therapy and non-opioid pharmacologic therapy as the preferred intervention for the effective management of chronic pain. If opioid analgesics are considered when benefit for pain and physical functioning outweigh risks to the patient – they should be combined with non-pharmacological and non-opioid pharmacologic therapy.

Turmeric and ginger are ancient spices with over 7,000 years of recorded use. Ortho Sport and Spine Physicians PC and Verdant Kitchen are investigating the supplemental benefits of turmeric and ginger compared with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve somatic inflammatory pain. This three-arm study is investigating turmeric, turmeric and ginger supplement combination and Meloxicam. Use of the Brief Pain Inventory (long and short forms) are used to evaluate the multi-dimensional aspects of acute onset somatic pain over eight weeks.

The FDA's Black Box warning for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and concern for use in patents with a history of cardiovascular disorders often compromise effective pain management. The results from this pilot study will be used to generate a larger, blinded trial. To date, the results are favorable and patients are satisfied with low self-reported pain scores.

Dr Kim Kuebler

Written by Dr Kim Kuebler

Dr. Kim Kuebler is the Medical Team Leader for Ortho Sport and Spine Physicians, Savannah, GA. She is an Adult Nurse Practitioner graduate from Emory University's School of Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate from Vanderbilt University.