Alternative treatments better than painkillers

Alternative therapies as good as strong analgesics

05.04.2014

German researchers have found that in chronic pain alternative methods, such as physiotherapy, have the same long-term effect as strong analgesics. This is good news given the often serious side effects of the drugs.

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Alternative Treatment Provides Same Effect
Alternative treatments such as physiotherapy or psychological procedures have the same long-term effect on chronic pain as strong analgesics, Scientists from the Berlin Charité and the Technische Universität Darmstadt come to this conclusion after a comprehensive analysis of individual studies. This was announced by the Charité on Friday. Over a longer period, the analgesic effects of drugs are "clinically insignificant" compared to a placebo. Professor Christoph Stein,

Head of the Clinic for Anaesthesiology focusing on surgical intensive care at Campus Benjamin Franklin, explained: "For a long time, you will achieve the same effect with strong analgesics as with non-medical physiotherapeutic and psychological procedures."The study was published in the current issue of the journal British Journal of Pharmacology.

Scientists Surprised by Results
Almost a quarter of the population suffers from chronic pain that is not caused by a tumor. Among the possible causes include rheumatic diseases such as arthritis, nervous system disorders or problems with back muscles or spine. For the meta-study, the scientists evaluated the results from a total of 3,647 publications in international journals, of which only the randomized-controlled trials were included in the further analysis. The researchers finally looked at data from a total of 10,742 patients."The results of our analysis surprised us, because it showed that in the long term, the pain-relieving effects of drug therapies are clinically insignificant compared to a placebo," said Professor Stein.

Serious Side Effects of Painkillers
When taken over an extended period of time, painkillers can cause serious side effects, such as stomach bleeding, respiratory disorders, or even heart attack. The results of the meta-study suggest that the treatment of chronic pain should focus in particular on the prevention of adverse drug reactions. Professor Stein emphasized: "In treating chronic non-tumor pain, a multidisciplinary approach, one that addresses not only the medical but also the psycho-social and physiotherapeutic aspects, should be a priority."ad)

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