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Travis Rieder, author of In Pain: A Bioethicist's Personal Struggle With Opioids, says none of the doctors who prescribed opioids for his waves of "fiery" or "electrical" pain taught him how to safely taper his use of the drugs when he wanted to quit. Stockbyte/Getty Images hide caption

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Motorcycle Crash Shows Bioethicist The Dark Side Of Quitting Opioids Alone

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Jeannine sorts through a binder of writing assignments from her therapy. In keeping a journal about her past experiences with pain, she noticed that the pain symptoms began when she was around 8 — a time of escalating family trauma at home. Jessica Pons for NPR hide caption

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Jessica Pons for NPR

Can You Reshape Your Brain's Response To Pain?

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Chris Nickels for NPR

How The Brain Shapes Pain And Links Ouch With Emotion

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Baby boomers who use marijuana seem to be using it more often than in previous years, a recent survey finds — 5.7 percent of respondents ages 50 to 64 said they'd tried it in the past month. The drug is also gaining popularity among people in their 70s and 80s. Manonallard/Getty Images hide caption

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Ashley Copeland (right) talks to her mom Sue Iverson in the Swedish Medical Center emergency department, near Denver. Copeland got a nerve-blocking anesthetic instead of opioids to ease her severe headache. At discharge she was advised to use over-the-counter painkillers, if necessary. John Daley / CPR News hide caption

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John Daley / CPR News

These 10 ERs Sharply Reduced Opioid Use And Still Eased Pain

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Francisco Hidalgo prepares to receive a trigger point injection from Dr. Alexis LaPietra (right) at St. Joseph's University Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., while Dr. Tyler Manis observes. An alternative to opioids, the trigger point injection involves dry needling to stop pain from a muscle spasm and a shot of local anesthetic for the soreness from the needle. Hansi Lo Wang/NPR hide caption

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Hansi Lo Wang/NPR

ER Reduces Opioid Use By More Than Half With Dry Needles, Laughing Gas

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MaryJane Sarvis, an artist in Shaftsbury, Vt., weaned herself from the opioid painkillers she was prescribed for chronic nerve pain. "I felt tired all the time and I was still in pain," she says. Marijuana works better for her, but costs $200 per month out-of-pocket. Emily Corwin/VPR hide caption

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Emily Corwin/VPR

The High Cost Of Medical Marijuana Causes Pain In Vermont

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Will Gersch teaches a class as part of a Colorado Kaiser Permanente pain management clinic. John Daley / Colorado Public Radio hide caption

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John Daley / Colorado Public Radio

Pain Management Program Offers An Alternative To Opioids

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Lauren Kafka rented a machine that delivered cold water and compression to manage pain after rotator cuff surgery. Her insurance company said it wasn't medically necessary and refused to pay for it. Courtesy of Alexander C. Kafka hide caption

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Courtesy of Alexander C. Kafka

Doctors think the chronic pain of "shoulder impingement" may arise from age-related tendon and muscle degeneration, or from a bone spur that can rub against a tendon. Michele Constantini/PhotoAlto/Getty Images hide caption

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Michele Constantini/PhotoAlto/Getty Images

Popular Surgery To Ease Chronic Shoulder Pain Called Into Question

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Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Is There A Way To Keep Using Opioid Painkillers And Reduce Risk?

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Brain Scientists Look Beyond Opioids To Conquer Pain

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A 1980 letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine was later widely cited as evidence that long-term use of opioid painkillers such as oxycodone was safe, even though the letter did not back up that claim. Education Images/UIG via Getty Images hide caption

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Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Doctor Who Wrote 1980 Letter On Painkillers Regrets That It Fed The Opioid Crisis

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