New Zealand media reports on chronic pain are focusing on treatments involving opioids and cannabis at the expense of best practice non-drug treatments, researchers have found.
Chronic pain, defined as persistent or recurring pain present for more than three months, is the leading cause of disability worldwide and affects one in five New Zealanders.
The researchers analysed 240 news articles on chronic pain published in the New Zealand news media between January 2015 and June 2019. Their report is published in the latest issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal.
Lead author Dr Hemakumar Devan, a Postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research at the University of Otago, Wellington’s School of Physiotherapy, says few of the news stories included information about non-pharmaceutical treatments for chronic pain, despite these being the preferred option for most chronic pain conditions.