Joint Pain News Update

Sometimes, we have to pay close attention to the news regarding joint pain issues and remedies because they can change quickly.

The latest case in point is an online article published by the Mayo Clinic on Sept. 7, 2019 which touted antidepressants as "Another weapon against chronic pain." Among the conditions for which relief may be expected are arthritis, low back pain, and pelvic pain.

The story included these key statements:

  • "Antidepressants are a mainstay in the treatment of many chronic pain conditions - even when depression isn't a factor."
  • "The painkilling mechanism of these drugs still isn't fully understood. Antidepressants may increase neurotransmitters in the spinal cord that reduce pain signals. But they don't work immediately."
  • "People generally experience moderate pain relief from antidepressants."
  • "It's important to note that antidepressant medications are associated with a slightly increased risk of suicidal thoughts or actions." 

Other serious side effects include blurred vision, heart rhythm problems, and difficulty thinking clearly.

Taken together, the scope of the effectiveness of antidepressants for the treatment of chronic pain takes time, produces only moderate effects, address the symptoms, not the cause, and may have at least one very serious side effect.

Depending on one's perspective, however, the updated news from last January may be welcome. Here's the summary of a report of a new study reported in Science Daily: "Antidepressant drugs are largely ineffective for back and osteoarthritis pain, despite being widely used for these conditions, suggests a review of the evidence published by The BMJ today."

So in the space of about 14 months, antidepressants as a remedy for chronic pain - including some specific points of chronic joint pain, went from hero to zero.

This quick change underscores just how quickly the science can change and how we must be vigilant in our quest for the most effective relief of chronic joint pain.

For the time being, the approximately 20 percent of Americans who suffer from chronic joint pain can rely on another proven method.

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