Gallup: Most Americans don't want prescriptions for pain

More than 70 percent of Americans don't want prescription medication for pain treatment, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday.

For the poll, Gallup surveyed more than 6,000 Americans from February through March on their experience with back and neck pain and their perceptions of various pain treatments.

Here are three key findings.

1. Seventy-eight percent of survey respondents said they prefer to address physical pain without prescribed medication, leaving just 22 percent of respondents who said they prefer prescription pain medication.

2. While 41 percent of respondents said physical therapy is very effective at treating neck and back pain, just 22 percent of total respondents said the same for prescription medications.

3. Sixty-eight percent of respondents described physical therapy as a very safe treatment for neck and back pain, while 12 percent said prescription medications were very safe.  

"[T]hese findings suggest that Americans are aware of the dangers associated with opioid misuse and are open to drug-free alternatives for pain management," wrote the authors of the Gallup report. "As concern over the opioid epidemic has grown, nondrug pain management options have garnered more attention and acceptance within the medical community … These developments could be a sign of a future where patients and healthcare professionals alike are trying drug-free treatment options before relying on opioids."

More articles on opioids: 
Study: Opioid use linked to 20% of overall decline in male labor force 
3 quotes from Dr. Atul Gawande on the role of physicians in the opioid epidemic 
Heroin deaths surge more than 500% since 2002

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