Applied Evidence

Chronic pain: How to approach these 3 common conditions

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Guidelines tend to differ most widely with regard to recommendations for spinal manipulation and specific drug therapies.69 The classes of drugs that may be most useful when centralized pain is present include the SNRIs and the alpha 2 delta calcium channel ligands.4 See TABLE 470-89 for a summary of evidence-based treatment options.

Treatment options for chronic low back pain: What works? image
Treatment options for chronic low back pain: What works? image

CASE 1 › Ms. A is started on amitriptyline 25 mg at bedtime, which improves her fatigue and cognitive symptoms. During monthly office visits, her FP educates her about the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia and uses motivational interviewing to get her slowly moving and increasing her activity level. She is weaned off the gabapentin previously prescribed, as her symptoms stabilize and improve.

CASE 2 › Mr. P is sent for a steroid injection, which decreases his pain temporarily. During this time, he begins physical therapy; slowly, with increased movement, his function improves. A trial of duloxetine provides pain relief; that combined with intermittent nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has allowed Mr. P to maintain his function and his job.

CASE 3 › Because Mr. B was only taking the narcotics intermittently and wasn’t certain they were helping, CBT was sufficient to wean Mr. B off the medication without any worsening of his pain in the process. By participating in physical therapy, he has learned how to perform certain tasks at his job without pain or injury. He uses NSAIDs as needed for pain.

Jill Schneiderhan, MD, 24 Frank Lloyd Wright Dr., Lobby H, Suite 2300, Ann Arbor, MI 48105; [email protected].

We thank Drs. Daniel Clauw (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) and Martha Rumschlag (Providence Family Medicine Residency Program, Southfield, Mich), for their valuable contributions to this article.


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