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Last year, I served on a committee looking into reasons for resistance by the healthcare community to adopt opioid prescribing guidelines. At first blush, this reluctance was perplexing.

Published in Opioids

Opioids are certainly in the news. The US Surgeon General recently issued a statement on the relationship between their widespread use for chronic pain and the subsequent epidemics of opioid addiction and accidental overdose (US Surgeon General, 2016). The US National Institute for Drug Abuse and Centers for Disease Control have also issued concerns (see here and here, respectively). Mainstream media reports on the problems of opioids appear almost daily.

Published in Self-management

We tend to stigmatize pain because we misunderstand its nature. Specifically, we fail to acknowledge the role that the nervous system plays in producing the experience of pain. If we more fully appreciated this role, we would understand that chronic pain is similar to other health conditions that we don’t stigmatize much, such as high hypertension (i.e., high blood pressure) or type II diabetes.

Published in Self-management

On initial reaction, it might seem absurd to talk about the benefits of self-managing chronic pain without opioid medications. "What," one might ask, "would you use to reduce pain? You wouldn't want to live the rest of your life in pain, would you?" The topic seems absurd because pain reduction reflexively seems so important. Indeed, pain reduction from the use of opioids seems so important that it trumps everything else, even problems associated with the use of opioids.

Published in Treating Chronic Pain
  • Shame and Pain

    Shame is an emotion that we don’t talk about much in pain management. We should, though, because people with persistent pain commonly experience shame in the interactions that they have with healthcare providers, friends and family. What is shame? Shame…
  • What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Pain?

    Cognitive behavioral therapy is a traditional form of therapy that is used for a great many types of health conditions. Historically beginning in the 1970’s, it was first used as treatments for chronic pain and depression,1, 2 but later applied to…
  • Why See a Psychologist for Pain?

    People are sometimes surprised that there are psychologists who are not mental health providers. It’s also true for people with persistent pain who might wonder why their physician referred them to a psychologist for the management of pain. ‘I’m not…
  • Whatever Happened to Backache?

    You’d think that we’d all agree on what back pain is. Pain in the low back is almost as common as days of the week. Most everyone has had or will have back pain in the course of their lives…
  • Should the Definition of Opioid Addiction Change?

    Twenty some odd years ago, the American Academy of Pain Medicine and the American Pain Society, two large pain-related professional organizations, teamed up to agree upon what it means to have both chronic pain and be addicted to opioid pain…

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