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Chronic Pain Treatment Options Review

Chronic pain can originate from any part of the body, including the brain and the spinal cord. The probability of effectively treating such pain is low. Depending on its origin, for instance, nerves or tissues, health specialists may recommend non-opioid treatment to persons with chronic pain. Managing chronic pain is an effective way of boosting patients’ quality of life by reducing their degree of suffering. Hence, this paper finds it crucial to examine the existing literature regarding treatment options available to patients with chronic pain, including the corresponding efficacy levels as presented in three scholarly articles.

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Literature Review

Nalamachu (2013) emphasizes the need for understanding the nature of chronic pain, the channel it follows in the body, and the effectiveness of different treatment options before attempting to manage this condition. He further argues that practitioners should match an appropriate pain model to a particular pain to determine the efficiency and the adverse outcomes of drugs applied in the management of persistent pain.

This article identifies NSAIDs, acetaminophen, and opioids as the most employed treatment alternative for dealing with constant pain among patients. Nevertheless, this author insists on the importance of using them alongside adjuvants. Nevertheless, these three treatment options are effective in different degrees depending on the origin of pain. Nalamachu (2013) appreciates this fact as evidenced by his lengthy discussion of the efficacy of pain management using NSAIDs, acetaminophen, and opioids.

According to Nalamachu (2013), acetaminophen has the least powerful effect, although its use may lead to liver complications. However, when used together with opioids, NSAIDs produce powerful analgesic results. As argued in this study, despite the effectiveness of NSAIDs in pain management, evidence-based research shows that they can cause complications, which interfere with the performance of renal, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal body systems.

Opioids also have their negative effects. People who use them to manage chronic pain risk experiencing adverse effects, including the malfunctioning of the respiratory system (Nalamachu, 2013). As a result, NSAIDs, acetaminophen, and opioids should be regarded as possible chronic pain management options whose success depends on the nature of chronic pain being managed to reduce suffering. However, the proper application of these alternatives improves patients’ health outcomes in line with evidence-based treatment guidelines for handling at-risk groups.

In another study, Meske et al. (2018) restrict their discussion of pain management to the efficacy of opioids when used to treat long-term pain among non-cancer patients. This article acknowledges the long history of this option of managing chronic pain. Nevertheless, according to these authors, despite such constant use, its efficacy continues to attract a heated debate among different medical practitioners. To substantiate this claim, Meske et al. (2018) conducted a meta-analysis of “published clinical trials for μ-opioid receptor agonists performed for US Food and Drug Administration approval” (p. 923). This exploration was restricted to different randomized withdraw studies completed before mid-2016 focusing on chronic pain treatment using opioids.

This particular research, which involved 15 articles, found a statistical significance of p>0.001 concerning the effectiveness of opioids in reducing pain intensity. The study by Meske et al. (2018) found minimal physical functional advantages of this treatment option contrary to Nalamachu’s (2013) discussion about the efficacy of opioids in managing persistent pain. No mental practical effects were identified. Therefore, according to Meske et al. (2018), opioids can effectively treat chronic pain among non-cancer patients. However, opioids are effective for a maximum of three months in different randomized trials. This finding suggests the need for considering the safety of opioids when using them to manage chronic pain.

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Grosen et al. (2017) conducted a research on opioids response using the biomarkers approach among 63 patients. These study subjects were drawn from five different chronic pain management centers in Europe. Testing approaches such as the EEG or electroencephalography and qualitative sensory were used. Grosen et al. (2017) measured outcomes, including changes in chronic pain levels and patients’ quality of life according to the baseline rating done two weeks after commencing the opioid treatment. They also considered possible side effects.

Findings from 59 patients who completed this survey revealed a relationship between chronic pain management using opioids. Upon considering safety standards when using this pain management option as suggested by Meske et al. (2018), the study by Grosen et al. (2017) emphasizes the idea of personalizing it, especially when dealing with patients who are most likely to demonstrate positive responses. According to these authors, regardless of the underlying side effects, this treatment option is only effective in a subset of ill people.


Non-opioid treatment options for chronic pain, including behavioral and cognitive therapies, are first recommended for patients suffering from chronic pain. However, other ailing individuals may fail to benefit from these alternatives. This situation informs the decision for adopting opioids as part of the available chronic pain treatment options. A review of the above three sources establishes diverse conclusions regarding the efficacy of opioids in managing persistent pain. While some researchers argue that this option needs to be personalized among patients who are most likely to respond positively, others are concerned about its increasingly negative adverse effects that range from renal and cardiovascular challenges to gastrointestinal problems.


Grosen, K., Olesen, A. E., Gram, M., Jonsson, T., Kamp-Jensen, M., Andresen, T. … Drewes, A. M. (2017). Predictors of opioid efficacy in patients with chronic pain: A prospective multicenter observational cohort study. PLoS ONE, 12(2), 1-13. Web.

Meske, D. S., Lawal, O. D., Elder, H., Langberg, V., Paillard, F., & Katz, N. (2018). Efficacy of opioids versus placebo in chronic pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis of enriched enrollment randomized withdrawal trials. Journal of Pain Research, 11(1), 923-934. Web.

Nalamachu, S. (2013). An overview of pain management: The clinical efficacy and value of treatment. The American Journal of Managed Care, 19(14), 261-266.

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