Statewide Iowa — (RI) — A University of Iowa pain researcher has won two grants as part of a national effort to improve treatments for pain and cut the use of opioids. Professor Kathleen Sluka says one grant funds research into why 40 to 50 percent of people develop acute pain after surgery or following a broken bone.
She says very little is known about why some people recover easily from acute pain, and they hope to find pain signatures that can help them ease the pain.
Sluka says cutting the source of the pain should lead to a drop in the use of opioids.
Sluka is a professor of physical therapy and rehabilitation science and says they also received a grant to examine a treatment that doesn’t use opioids.
She says there are a lot of benefits to using the body’s own pain killers.
She says there are some products available now that use this system, but they haven’t had a lot of testing.
She hopes they want a lot more data on this type of treatment.
Sluka says there’s been a lot of money put into finding ways to slow or end the opioid epidemic. She says some of it is going to be a matter of going away from the old idea that you have a pain, so you just pop a pill to take care of it.
The first grant is six-and-a-half million dollars for four years. The second award is around the same dollar amount for five years. Sluka is working with Laura Frey Law, a University of Iowa associate professor of physical therapy and rehabilitation science, and Christopher Coffey, a U of I professor of biostatistics on the first project. The second trial is being done in collaboration with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of Iowa College of Public Health.
Photo: Kathleen Sluka ~~Photo courtesy Radio Iowa