Researchers at the University of Dallas have observed that Opioid analgesics should be considered before opting for surgery in severe chronic back pain. The opioid analgesics, such as morphine, fentanyl and oxycodone, are strong pain-relievers most often used to relieve cancer pain. But a review of the evidence suggests they may also have a role in relieving chronic back pain.
Doctors have observed from studies of opioids used to treat back pain and reported that there appeared to be few adverse long-term side effects. But there may be moderate side effects. And the risk of dependence appears to be low. Longer-acting opioids seem to be the best choice for the back pain patient.
The researchers acknowledge that there is a great deal of prejudice among the medical community and the public against the widespread use of opioids, even for cancer. The drugs have an 'illicit' image and it's often believed their use will lead to addiction. Yet they are powerful relievers of suffering and deserve to be made available wherever someone might benefit. The team of researchers hope that there will now be better clinical trials into the use of opioids in back pain, for the subject has been under researched.