Answering Big Questions in Pain Medicine


The future of pain medicine is marked by many questions. What can other nations around the world learn from the opioid crisis that is still affecting the United States? The American opioid experience was mischaracterized and wrongly described, and its causes were misdiagnosed from the outset, leading to its mismanagement and the abandonment of many chronic pain patients to their suffering. There are a few new drugs in the analgesic armamentarium. What new targets do we have in pain medicine? There are many breakthroughs, discoveries, and potential new targets that could add to our analgesic prescribing choices. These include sigma receptors, d-amino acid oxidase, endoplasmic reticulum stress receptors, histone deacetylase, and others. Neuromodulation had been used with varying degrees of success for years, but with a simplistic approach based on the gate theory of pain. Despite our familiarity with neuromodulation and spinal cord stimulators, neuromodulation research indicates that the activation of glial cells may activate the immune system and enhance analgesia. Neuromodulation studies have concentrated on how electricity affects neuronal activity rather than how electrical activity could reduce pain. There are still more frontiers in our battle against pain and some promising avenues for treatments. This narrative review will try to summarize what can be done from the perspective of recent technological and pharmacological developments.

Paladini A, Vallejo R, Guerrero M, et al. (August 16, 2023) Answering Big Questions in Pain Medicine. Cureus 15(8): e43561. doi:10.7759/cureus.43561


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