Opioid use disorder (OUD) is ravaging the United States at epidemic levels. Increases in mortality rates related to this disease are also occurring.

There is inadequate data on the rate of OUD-related hospitalizations of people dealing with musculoskeletal diseases. New research examines these hospitalizations and explores the relationship between OUD and musculoskeletal conditions.

The Study Reviewed Five Particular Musculoskeletal Diseases

The study looked at hospitalization rates related to OUD in people with five different musculoskeletal diseases:

  • Gout is a disease where someone has a malfunctioning metabolism, which leads to arthritis.
  • Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that leads to extensive musculoskeletal pain, tenderness, and fatigue. 
  • Osteoarthritis (OA) is the degeneration of joint cartilage and underlying bone that causes pain and stiffness of the knees, hips, and joints of the thumbs.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic and progressive disease that causes joint inflammation, which leads to painful immobility and deformity, particularly in the ankles, feet, wrists, and fingers.
  • Low back pain (LBP) involves pain in the bones, muscles, and nerves of the back. The pain ranges from dull and constant to sudden and sharp.
The Past Two Decades Show Increases in Hospitalizations for These Groups

Since chronic musculoskeletal diseases are some of the most common reasons for chronic pain in America, this population is at a higher risk of receiving prescription opioids and possible subsequent development of an OUD. The research found that between the years of 1998 and 2000, the incidence of hospitalizations related to OUD was low for all five of the previously mentioned diseases.

However, by 2019, these incidences increased by five times in people with low back pain (LBP), and by 35 times in people with gout. The occurrences continue to increase in people with fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

This research indicates that patients and treatment providers need to have open communication about the risks and benefits of starting opioids for pain treatment, and for continuing to use them. 

Dealing With Chronic Pain or a Substance Use Disorder and Looking for Help?

The research shows that hospitalizations related to OUD in people with chronic musculoskeletal diseases continue to increase steadily, and have done so over the last 20 years. These findings point to the suggestion that chronic conditions can lead to substance use disorders due to the nature of their symptoms. 

At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.