Wednesday, September 21, 2011

No Pill for Chronic Pain

Bob Twillman, PhD

American Academy of Pain Management

If there was one thing I could do to relieve pain in America, it would be to have everyone understand that no pill, no shot, no surgery will relieve the vast majority of chronic pain.

Chronic pain is relieved only when there is a joint effort, on many fronts, of the person with pain, his or her healthcare providers, and those in his or her social milieu, to address ALL of the aspects of pain. This means focusing not only on the biological components of pain, but also on its behavioral, cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects.

By attending to all of these components of the pain experience, it may be possible for people with chronic pain to return to wellness, even if their pain does not completely go away. That is to say, they may be well emotionally, spiritually, cognitively, behaviorally, and socially even if they continue to experience some pain.

That state of overall wellness should be the goal for which we strive in treating chronic pain.

Note: September is Pain Awareness Month. For information on activities conducted by the Center for Practical Bioethics click here.



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