September is Pain Awareness Month.
As you probably know from reading my blog, integrative pain management is my specialty and my passion. The current protocol of managing pain with prescription narcotics is unsustainable, and has recently be proven ineffective.
In 2015, a systematic review of research studies on pain management found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of long-term use of opioid (narcotic) pain medications for improving chronic pain and function.
Due to insufficient evidence of effectiveness combined with concerns of opioids related risks, including opioid use disorder, overdose, and death, this year the Center of Disease Control published guidelines for the use of opioid (narcotic) pain medications in treating chronic pain. The CDC notes 12 recommendations of primary importance; non-opioid therapy is preferred for treatment of chronic pain.
Now is the time to transform our pain management toolbox. It should include nutrition, breath training, relaxation, stress mastery, positive psychology, meditation, biofeedback, massage, yoga therapy, tai chi, hypnosis and energy medicine to offer the most comprehensive healing options available using modern science and ancient wisdom traditions.
Ann Intern Med. 2015 Feb 17;162(4):276-86. doi: 10.7326/M14-2559.The effectiveness and risks of long-term opioid therapy for chronic pain: a systematic review for a National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention Workshop.Chou R, Turner JA, Devine EB, Hansen RN, Sullivan SD, Blazina I, Dana T, Bougatsos C, Deyo RA.http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2089370
JAMA. 2016 Apr 19;315(15):1624-45. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.1464.CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain–United States, 2016.Dowell D, Haegerich TM, Chou R. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2503508