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Spinal cord injuries might be negatively impacted by morphine

One of the primary concerns of a person who has suffered a spinal cord injury is to get their pain under control. The desire to do this might be something that is addressed with the doctors who are caring for the patient. A recent study from the Texas A & M College of Medicine found that doctors giving a patient morphine too soon after a spinal cord injury could do more harm than good.

The study found that the method of administration didn't have any impact on the effect of the drug on the injury. The issue at hand seems to be how morphine impacts the recovery of locomotive function.

Interestingly, the administration of morphine only seems to affect the patient if it is administered shortly after the injury. Once the injury is in the chronic phase of recovery, which occurs months after the injury, morphine doesn't seem to have the same negative effect.

The finding of this study doesn't mean that doctors are going to simply do away with the drug for spinal cord injury patients. There are some patients and some types of pain that don't respond to other forms of medications. With this in mind, researchers need to determine why morphine has this effect on spinal cord injury recovery so that they can determine if there are ways to negate those effects.

Molecular studies might help to determine this information. Until the results of those studies come to a determination, patients are going to have to try to balance the need for pain relief with the desire to not impede recovery.

Patients will also have to make some other choices, such as whether they will seek compensation or not for their injuries. Thinking about all the points that are present can help with the decision making.

Source: Knowridge Science Report, "Morphine might take away pain, but does it do more harm than good?," Jan. 14, 2017

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