Racial and Ethnic Differences in Low Back Pain Treatments

European Journal of Pain, Vol27, Issue 4,  p. 476

Racial and ethnic differences in the use of lumbar imaging, opioid analgesics and spinal surgery for low back pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Qiuzhe Chen 1, Simon P Vella 1, Chris G Maher 1, Giovanni E Ferreira 1, Gustavo C Machado 1

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This eye-opening review uncovers a troubling disparity in healthcare for minority populations with low back pain. It reveals that people of color are less likely to receive guideline-consistent care, fewer opioid prescriptions and limited access to spinal surgery. 

Why Is This Important: The findings call for immediate attention and strategic interventions, I believe this is an example of a generalized and systemic unconscious bias by doctors and hospitals that Black people in pain are drug addicts. It denies pain relief where it is clearly needed. It is not easy to determine who is in real pain but being Black should not be a determining factor.


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