Author(s): Moorman R, Motycka CA, Inge LD, Congdon JM
Chronic nonmalignant pain is a silent epidemic in the U.S. that affects approximately 116 million Americans.1 It is also the most common reason patients seek medical care, resulting in $635 billion annually in both medical costs and decreased work productivity.1 Although the physiology of chronic pain continues to be poorly understood, it has been identified as a disorder associated with many psychosocial conditions, including lack of appetite, depression, and sleep disturbances. Therefore, the use of a multimodal therapeutic plan is imperative in the treatment of patients experiencing chronic pain. Health care practitioners should ensure that all aspects of the chronic pain syndrome, including pathophysiology, functional impairment, and psychosocial needs, are addressed.2 Nonpharmacological options, such as massage therapy, physical and occupational therapy, biofeedback, guided imagery, and cognitive–behavioral therapy, have been shown to help decrease some of the overall pain complaints. Interventional therapies, such as nerve blocks, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), and injectable medications, are also used in various situations. However, a therapeutic plan typically employs the use of non-opioid and opioid analgesics to help control the pain.