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Dr. Stephanie Eucker Receives Grant to Examine Lower Back Pain Management and Reduce Opioid Prescriptions

Friday, February 2, 2018
By Scott Behm, Department of Surgery
Photo of opioid medication

Stephanie Eucker, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Surgery in Emergency Medicine, has received a grant in collaboration with Maggie Horn, DPT, MPH, PhD and Corey Simon, DPT, PhD in the Duke Musculoskeletal Research Team at the Duke Clinical Research Institute to examine the current state of musculoskeletal back pain management care in the Emergency Department (ED), and how care can be improved for patients after their visit.

Lower back pain is one of the main causes of disability in the United States. A 2012 study that pulled data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System revealed that more than 3% of all visits to the ED are due to back pain. Despite this prevalence of cases, Dr. Eucker says that there is a lack of research on the effectiveness of current care for these patients, and one common treatment option is the prescription of opioids for pain management.

Opioid use and overdose has been declared an epidemic by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Eucker’s research team will conduct data analysis of the Duke Health System electronic medical records database in order to better characterize the population with current back pain who receive follow-up care within 4 weeks of their ED visit. The aim is to find possible areas of intervention that will improve care and reduce opioid prescriptions.

The grant, titled “Downstream Opioid Prescription and Health Status for Patients with Low Back Pain Managed in the Emergency Department,” is funded by the Duke Surgical Center for Outcomes Research and Duke Clinical Research Institute Research Scholars Program.