Reliance on opioid pain medication for long-term management of chronic back and neck pain comes with many risks, and may be ineffective. After prolonged treatment using opioid chronic pain management, patients often develop a tolerance to the medication. This effect creates a dangerous cycle in which increased tolerance leads to higher doses needed for relief. This unsustainable cycle has bigger consequences than diminished pain relief.
According to some recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emergency room visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased by 30 percent between July 2016 and September 2017. This pattern of increased use of medication to manage chronic pain has resulted in America’s opioid crisis, which has been declared a national emergency by the United States government. The troubling trends in the long term effects of opioid addiction have sent physicians, medical device designers, and drug manufacturers searching for new and alternative treatments.