Pain Care and Opioids

Topic Spotlight


Adults in the United States that had chronic pain in 2019 (Centers for Disease Control)


Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2019 (National Institute of Health)

75.8 B

The cost of prescription opioid misuse in the U.S. per year (National Institute of Health)

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

Tackling Chronic Pain While Reducing Opioid Use

This study found that a clinical plan to encourage safe opioid prescribing for pain succeeded in lowering patients’ doses.

People Involved in Chronic Pain Research

Hear about several comparative clinical effectiveness research studies that aim to help patients and those who care for them make better-informed decisions about their options for managing chronic pain.

Non-Opioid Therapies for Chronic Low Back Pain

This study compares how well cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation work in mitigating pain and enabling people to reduce or discontinue opioid use.

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Opioid Use

Pain Care and Opioids