The Chronic Pain Management Toolkit for Practitioners
Chronic pain is often caused by a multitude of factors, and so a multidisciplinary approach is required.
People who live well with chronic pain do best when they feel like valued partners in a multidisciplinary approach. Health care providers should understand all the different ways the client/patient might approach their chronic pain condition, including:
Medical Treatments – Medication can help manage chronic pain when it is used in balance with the rest of an overall chronic pain management plan. It is important to recognize that some medications, such as opiates, can do more harm than good should a person become addicted. Assessment, prescription medicines, infusions, injections, surgeries, continuity of care, associated mental health and substance related conditions, co-ordination of specialist care, medico-legal issues.
Body Work – Exercise strengthens the body, reduces fatigue and can help with sleep disorders and depression. An individualized program should include stretching, strengthening, and an aerobic component. Passive therapies such as massage are not a solution on their own, but can complement other bodywork.
Education – People who suffer from pain often look for a simple, single solution to what is a complex set of circumstances, as unique to them as their own fingerprints. It is important for people suffering from pain to understand why their pain has become chronic, why it doesn’t necessarily improve with time and why medications or surgery often provide only partial, temporary relief.
Cognitive Therapies – General counseling, addiction counseling, psychologists, life coaches and other cognitive therapies help with the depression and coping problems that can so often affect the mental health of chronic pain sufferers.
Self Management – Feedback from people who manage their chronic pain well includes the importance of their own self advocacy. As a health care professional, you have an opportunity to educate and motivate your client to better self manage their condition. At the same time, it is important to consider the social determinants of health including income, level of education, home and community environment, etc. Click here to access the Kootenay Boundary Poverty Intervention Tool with guidance on addressing the health impacts of poverty.
Complementary Methods – A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that some complementary approaches to chronic pain can be beneficial.* Although many complementary approaches studied for chronic pain have good safety records, that doesn’t mean that they’re risk-free. It is important to take into account such factors as a patient’s age, health, special circumstances (such as pregnancy), and medicines or supplements when engaging these methods.
To learn more, visit https://nccih.nih.gov/health/pain/chronic.htm
Your checklist for helping chronic pain patients help themselves:
[ ] Do you provide education about chronic pain and the importance of a multidisciplinary approach?
[ ] Do you know who else your patient is seeing?
[ ] Do you understand the nature of the different treatments they are receiving from other health care providers?
[ ] Are you encouraging people to self manage their condition - to take responsibility to learn more, try multiple approaches, and make positive lifestyle changes?
[ ] Are your services accurately represented in the Kootenay Boundary Divisions Resource Directory so that other providers can easily find you?
Download tools and encourage a multidiscipinary approach to Chronic Pain management: