Chronic Pain is Common and Opioids Aren’t the Solution

How to deal with chronic pain

The U.S. spends over $300 billion annually for treatment of chronic pain, yet more than 100 million Americans continue to suffer and our economy loses hundreds of billions of dollars to lost productivity. Chronic pain expert Cindy Perlin, author of The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments: The Best and Worst Strategies for Becoming Pain Free, says the huge expenditures for chronic pain treatment have been misdirected and have made the problem worse.

According to Perlin, the idea that pain is undertreated was part of a marketing campaign by Purdue Pharma, starting in 1996. Purdue wanted to convince doctors to widely prescribe their new extended release opioid, OxyContin. The pharmaceutical company persuaded doctors that the drug was safe and effective, and the number of prescriptions for all opioids skyrocketed along with the number of people whose pain became chronic. “Opioids are neither safe nor effective for chronic pain,” says Perlin. “Pain is not caused by an opioid deficiency. The real undertreatment of pain comes from covering up the symptom rather than addressing the root cause.”

Surgical interventions commonly used to address many pain conditions were inadequately tested before being widely implemented. Many have now been proven to be ineffective or harmful. Still, they remain in widespread use, says Perlin.

Chronic emotional tension, poor nutrition, vitamin deficiencies, toxic exposures and allergens, soft tissue injuries, muscle imbalances, and nerve impingement caused by spinal subluxation (dislocation) are common causes of pain that are routinely ignored in the care of most pain patients. Patients would be better served, insists Perlin, by improved access to safer, less costly interventions such as physical therapy, psychotherapy, chiropractic, biofeedback, acupuncture, nutritional and herbal interventions, exercise programs, and other natural approaches.

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About Cindy Perlin

Perlin is a licensed clinical social worker, certified biofeedback practitioner, and chronic pain survivor. She has been a guest on multiple TV and radio networks, among them PBS, CBS, Fox News, SiriusXM, and RadioMD. Her op-ed pieces and letters have been published in the Albany Times Union, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal and she has contributed columns to,,,,, and Alternative Medicine magazine. More information can be found at and

SOURCE Cindy Perlin

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