Pain Research

Focus on Recovery – Spokane Regional Opioid Task Force

Although pain is a normal, vital response to actual or potential tissue injury, in some cases acute pain can become chronic and a condition unto itself, leading to biological changes in the central nervous system as well as changes in peripheral tissues. Chronic pain is a debilitating condition with high societal and economic costs. Growing evidence indicates that some complementary health approaches may help in its treatment and management. Now that self-management of chronic pain is recognized as a component of an overall treatment strategy, it is important to better understand how to best integrate effective complementary approaches into care and how to optimize interventions for individuals and groups.

Impact of Chiropractic Care on Use of Prescription Opioids in Patients with Spinal Pain.

A study recently published in Pain Medicine looked at the utilization of nonpharmacological pain management for preventing unncessary use of opioids. The study included over 100,000 participants over 5 years. Conclusions: Patients with spinal pain who saw a chiropractor had half the risk of filling an opioid prescription. Among those who saw a chiropractor within 30 days of diagnosis, the reduction in risk was greater as compared with those with their first visit after the acute phase.

Benefits of Shorter Duration Opioid Prescribing 

Addiction to prescription opioids poses a real threat to patients and society. Could we reduce this threat by encouraging physicians to prescribe shorter-duration initial prescriptions for opioids? Results from this simulation study suggest that the answer is yes. Moving 10,000 patients to shorter initial prescriptions would yield patient welfare gains equivalent to up to 4,500 additional opioid free months over two years as well as appreciable direct savings for employers. These estimated gains are large enough that even relatively costly initiatives to change prescribing behavior would be cost effective. 

What the Science Says About Complementary Health Approaches for Chronic Pain

The scientific evidence suggests that some complementary health approaches may help people manage chronic pain. NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has created a synopsis of highlights the research status of some approaches used for common kinds of pain.

Pain: Considering Complementary Approaches (eBook), NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

This 47-page eBook provides an overview of complementary health approaches for pain, including acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, spinal manipulation, yoga, and more. You’ll find summaries of what the science says about whether these approaches are useful and safe, as well as tips to help you be an informed consumer. 

Role of Active Versus Passive Complementary and Integrative Health Approaches in Pain Management

A general conclusion about the treatment of chronic, noncancer pain is that the results from traditional, passive modalities are disheartening. Perhaps this may be due to the propensity of patients to seek out passive versus active treatments. In pain management, active treatments should be the primary focus, with passive interventions as an adjunct. The current study tested the hypotheses that Veterans would report a greater significant increase in active versus transitional and active versus passive complementary and integrative health (CIH) utilization after completing a formal pain education program.

Cognitive Therapy for Pain by Beverly E. Thorn is a paper that specifically targets the cognitive psychological processes (pain-related thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs) shown to be important predictors of satisfactory adjustment to chronic painful conditions.

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