Monday, May 30, 2016

Research: American Pain Society says mental health care first line treatment for chronic pain, not opioids


A May press release from the American Pain Society notes that mental health care is a critical component of chronic pain management.  This is not news to those in the mental health profession.  In fact, the article notes that  psychologists have understood for decades that "chronic pain is a complex bio-psycho-social condition requiring multi-modal approaches" to care and treatment. 

Chronic pain is complicated and because of its chronicity it affects all aspects of life from daily activities of life to emotional well-being, quality of sleep, and social interactions, besides the physical symptoms.

The May press release is a reminder to primary care providers that opioids should not be a first line choice for treating chronic pain.  It takes a village.  This is where the patient-centered medical home model should come into play.  Or, as a person with chronic pain, make your own team of providers to help you manage your pain and grow in your life.  This team may be (not extensive potential list):  primary care provider, mental health provider, chaplain, physical therapist, tai chi classes, acupuncturist, herbalist, nutritionist, your family and friends.

Source:  Chuck Weber, "Evidence shows benefits of psychological care in pain management:  doctors should consider cognitive therapies as potential first-line treatment", American Pain Society, May 12, 2016, online.

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