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Treating musculoskeletal pain in the emergency department

Casal Codesido JR, V√°zquez Lima MJ

Servicio de Urgencias. Hospital El Bierzo. Ponferrada. León, Spain. Servicio de Urgencias. Hospital Do Salnés de Vilagarcía. Pontevedra, Spain.

Pain is one of the most common reasons for seeking emergency care, and the most
prevalent cause is musculoskeletal injury. The analgesic approach to managing pain in
the emergency department is not always appropriate. The reluctance to use opioids out
of fear and the overuse of anti-inflammatory drugs at inappropriate dosages are among
the reasons patients receive inadequate analgesia. We review the main drugs available to
treat musculoskeletal pain, the reasons for using multimodal approaches to analgesia,
and how to apply that strategy according to the mechanism causing the pain.
Combining analgesics from different drug groups improves quality of life and reduces
side effects. It is essential to overcome our reluctance to use opioids and to learn to use
them properly, bearing in mind both the mechanism that causes pain and its intensity.

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