NSAIDS and chronic pain


Chronic pain can develop from an acute pain state. The mechanisms mediating the transition from acute to chronic pain remain to be elucidated. Last, clinical data showed that the use of anti-inflammatory drugs was associated with increased risk of persistent pain, suggesting that anti-inflammatory treatments might have negative effects on pain duration.

Acute inflammatory response via neutrophil activation protects against the development of chronic pain | Science Translational Medicine

Parisien, Marc, et al. “Acute inflammatory response via neutrophil activation protects against the development of chronic pain.” Science Translational Medicine 14.644 (2022): eabj9954.

However, a new study of patients with low back pain or facial pain surprisingly shows that the body may need inflammation to prevent acute, short-term pain from turning into chronic pain.

The UK study involved 98 patients with low back pain was recently published in Science Translational Medicine. Overall, patients who took anti-inflammatory medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) had a higher risk of ending up with persistent, chronic pain.

When discussing their study’s results, the researchers highlighted the surprising and counterintuitive nature of their findings.

They researchers said that they had long thought of chronic pain as the body’s overreaction to a problem that was causing acute pain. However, they believe the study has unveiled the opposite: a strong inflammatory response may actually help the body resolve pain by quashing the root cause.

They said, “These results open a completely new future in treatment of acute pain and in prevention of chronic pain not only for acute low back pain but for all acute pain syndromes. ….our data shall make us think about our approaches to treating acute and chronic pain”.

They concluded “Clinical trials on long-term effects of anti-inflammatory treatment in acute pain settings, like trauma and surgery, should be conducted.”

In our view, it highlights the importance of looking for alternative strategies to manage these pain issues.




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