May 17, 2016

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Balanced pain management is a comprehensive approach to diagnosing, treating and controlling pain that ensures practitioners and their patients, not insurance companies or other outside parties, drive treatment decisions. It better alleviates pain by giving people access to the full range of effective treatment strategies. When practiced in coordination with policies that facilitate access and encourage the proper use and disposal of prescription medications, balanced pain management can help address the serious and growing issues of drug abuse and addiction. Balanced pain management encompasses multimodal analgesia for the treatment of acute pain as well as integrated care for the treatment of chronic pain.screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-3-31-03-pm

Pain affects all of us at some point in our lives, and approximately 100 million adults in the United States live with chronic pain. There are many effective methods of treating pain, but far too often patients and their practitioners and their choices are limited by hurdles such as insurance, cost or policy decisions.

They may be compelled to rely solely on the opioid class of drugs which, by itself, might not be the best way to manage an individual patient’s pain. Using an opioid-only therapy may be the right choice in some instances but, in others, alternative therapies should be on the table for practitioners and their patients as well. Overreliance on an opioid-only approach, combined with undertreatment and underfunding for addiction, has also exacerbated national problems with drug misuse, abuse and addiction. Alarmingly, more than seven out of 10 hospitalized patients treated with intravenous (IV) analgesia receive IV opioids alone.

This widely recognized issue has led to calls for limits on opioid supply and prescriptions. In March 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their rst ever guidelines for dispensing opioids, recommending physicians to use caution when prescribing them for chronic pain. Yet not enough alternatives to opioids are available to prescribers and their patients to effectively and comprehensively treat pain through other means.

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