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Opioids for pain relief: little to gain, much to lose

Opioids are a commonly prescribed to patients in Australia with chronic knee, hip or lower back pain. A recent study looking into the effects of opioid medication for elderly people with muscle and joint pain. The finding of the study raises serious concerns about the effects and risks of using opioids, specifically for people aged 60 and older.

The study revealed that opioids have little effect on muscle and joint pains experienced by older patients: there is little pain relief and limited increase in function. At the same time, serious risks are involved for this group of people because there is a higher chance of adverse events, which are serious enough to lead patients to discontinue their opioid medication.

Read more about this meta-analysis of 23 clinical trials here:http://www.jpain.org/article/S1526-5900(17)30800-3/fulltext

Opioids work on the brain, not the source of the pain. Opioid pain medications interfere with the transmission of pain messages from the part of the body that hurts to the brain. They do not heal or repair the source of the pain. In addition long-term opioid users will experience adverse side effects. The common side effects are 1) Constipation or gastrointestinal issues. This is one of the most prevalent side effects, which is called “opioid-induced bowel dysfunction”. Symptoms include abdominal cramping, spasm and bloating. 2) Increased risk of fractures. Because opioid affects the central nervous system resulting in symptoms as dizziness and reduced alertness causing falls especially in the elderly. 3) Hormone imbalance. Opioids have an impact on the endocrine system in both men and women. 4) Breathing problems. Abnormal, irregular breathing or apnea is concerned especially on high dose during asleep. 5) Depression. As opioid works on central nervous system, it causes imbalance in neurotransmitters and function of neurons. These are a few of side effects. Lon-term opioid use also causes physical, mental and emotional dependence.

To treat pain in muscles (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29090398) and joints (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27330707) effectively and without side effects, low level laser therapy offers a safe and clinically proven alternative to regular types of pain treatments.

 Please call 02 93899699 or 0481354188 for your appointment.

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Wei Xing

With over 30 years experience in the industry Wei Xing has used her expertise and LLLT knowledge to treat patients with acute and chronic pain.

Deeply passionate about her patient’s health, Wei has made it her mission to alleviate discomfort and suffering from her patients so that they may enjoy a more active lifestyle.

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