October 18, 2017 – Pain Management


Anchor lead: How can pain be managed in the wake of the opioid crisis? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Now that many clinicians are reluctant to prescribe opioid medications, what options are available for those in chronic pain? Michael Clark, a pain expert who spoke recently at a Johns Hopkins symposium on chronic pain, says we must first rethink the issue.

Clark: While you may hear that pain is a vital sign or pain is a symptom, it really isn’t. It’s much more than that.  :08

Clark advocates for a very thorough assessment of the patient.

Clark: With that kind of careful formulation, if you consider what diseases the patient has, what behaviors they’re engaging in, who they are as a person and what capabilities they have, and what stressors or life events they’re trying to make it through, you can then determine what’s the best approach for this person as opposed to the other person.  :25

Clark acknowledges that such an approach is time-consuming but will likely produce better pain management results over the long term. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.