Pain Care and Opioids

Topic Spotlight


About 20% of adults in the United States indicated experiencing chronic pain in 2019. (The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics)


An estimated 50,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2019. (The NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse)


The cost of prescription opioid misuse in the U.S. is estimated at $78.5 million per year. (The NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Upcoming PCORI Funding Opportunity: Opens May 7, 2024

Study Results that Support Better-Informed Decisions

Comparing Ways to Treat Back Pain Using a Stratified Risk Approach

PCORI-funded study aimed to test whether a risk-stratified approach to treatment in primary care settings would result in lower rates of patients with acute back pain developing chronic back pain. To assess chronic pain risk, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh asked patients questions about how they were coping with back pain and assigned them to either low-, medium-, or high-risk groups. Patients who scored high risk were placed into two groups: usual care or usual care plus psychologically informed physical therapy, which also teaches patients coping skills to manage back pain. As reported in EClinical Medicine, among patients at high risk, 50 percent developed chronic back pain regardless of type of care, while 20 percent of low-risk and 33 percent of medium-risk patients developed chronic low back pain.

Pain Care and Opioids Study Spotlights