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Solving pain – opioids, NSAIDs, and better options

WCRI’s latest report on drugs in workers’ comp has some excellent news...opioid usage dropped 29% from Q1 2021 to Q1 2023.

WCRI’s data is from 28 study states representing the vast majority of workers’ comp drug spend.

It may well be that NSAIDs are replacing opioids, a welcome event but not without potential downsides, namely side effects of some NSAIDs and far too much physician dispensing of these (mostly) very cheap drugs.

Fortunately other promising therapies – with very low risk – are also now available.

The FDA has authorized AppliedVR’s RelieVRx for treatment of chronic low back pain. RelieVRx’s authorization came after extensive research and massive clinical trials; the latest included over 1,000 participants.

The study was a large randomized controlled trial (RCT), evaluating virtual reality (VR) therapy for treating chronic low back pain (CLBP) at home.  Published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Digital Health, the study found AppliedVR’s RelieVRx program produced clinically meaningful improvements in clinically severe and diverse adults with CLBP.

What does this mean for you?

Much safer and quite effective treatment for chronic low back pain = lower risk and excellent outcomes.

AppliedVR is an HSA consulting client. And I’m damn proud to work with them.

Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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