Over the last several decades, the use of opioids has increased dramatically as millions of adults are prescribed long-term opioid therapy for their chronic pain. Due to their potential adverse effects such as addiction and overdoses, there is a desperate need for better approaches for treating chronic pain, such as various surgeries.

This systematic review set out to evaluate the evidence for invasive procedures / surgeries compared with their identical sham procedures in the treatment of various chronic pain conditions.

They found that despite the billions of dollars spent annually on various surgical interventions for those dealing with chronic back or knee pain, they seem to be no more effective than just placebo surgeries.

“A moderate amount of evidence does not support the use of invasive procedures as compared with sham procedures for patients with chronic back or knee pain.” – Jonas et al 2018

One may say, what’s the harm in trying surgery anyways? The fact is that surgeries are not risk-free, as there is always the risk of the anesthesia, permanent injury, psychological stress, cost and associated long-term disability.

So what else can be done for chronic pain before considering opioids or surgery? Well I’m obviously biased towards my Pain Truth program. See the new 3-minute video on how to start the program.  I also suggest focusing on PREVENTION. See my complimentary course on the topic on Embodia Academy.

Reference: Jonas WB, et al Are Invasive Procedures Effective for Chronic Pain? A Systematic Review. Pain Med. 2019 Jul 1;20(7):1281-1293.

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