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Managing Pain Series

Part 3: Expanding the options

The alternatives to opioids we have now don’t work for everyone’s pain. More non-opioid, non-addictive treatment options could help reduce the number of opioids prescribed each year.

Healthy Living LifePath winterThe Healthy Living program at LifePath is offering several workshops during the 2019 winter season, including a free Chronic Pain Self-Management workshop that helps people build self-confidence to assume an active role in managing their chronic pain. Particpants explore the cause of pain; distraction and relaxation techniques; dealing with difficult emotions, stress, fatigue, isolation, and poor sleep; appropriate exercise; strategies on healthy eating, weight management, and nutrition; pacing activity and rest; and more. The next six-week Chonric Pain Self-Management workshop series starts on February 14 at North Quabbin Recovery Center. Learn more about this and other Healthy Living workshops.Recently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched the Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL) Initiative to address the shortage of effective medications for chronic pain and other issues contributing to the opioid crisis.

Some of the research funded by HEAL will focus on understanding how chronic pain develops. A better understanding of how acute pain becomes chronic could reveal new treatment targets.

Researchers funded by HEAL also hope to learn how to predict who will develop chronic pain from acute pain. This information could be used to guide early pain management, Oshinsky explains. HEAL will fund research into new treatments for opioid misuse and addiction as well.

More options for pain management could help doctors better personalize pain treatment. “It could be a little more like precision medicine, where you try to identify what flavor of pain the patient has, and then match the treatments we have available to the needs of that patient,” explains Dr. David Williams, an NIH-funded pain researcher at the University of Michigan.

Read Part 1 of this series.

Read Part 2 of this series.

Learn about the Chronic Pain Self-Management Program at LifePath.

Article adapted from the NIH October 2018 News in Health.