Physicians, patients feel 'uncomfortable' discussing chronic pain, opioids: 4 survey findings

A recent survey suggests chronic pain patients are frequently "uneasy" or "uncomfortable" discussing pain and pain medications with their physicians, according to the National Pain Report.

One survey was conducted on behalf of Teva Pharmaceuticals in conjunction with the American Academy of Pain Management and U.S. Pain Foundation. Bob Twillman, PhD, executive director of the American Academy of Pain Management sheds some light on the underlying issue surrounding these unpleasant conversations.

"Chronic pain and prescription drug abuse are both significant health issues impacting our society. However, the stigma surrounding both of these can make them very difficult to talk about," said Dr. Twillman. "I hope the survey results help facilitate important conversations between healthcare professionals and people affected by pain."

Highlighted below are four findings from the survey.

1. More than half of healthcare professionals (59 percent) and 40 percent of patients reported feeling like they should take personal responsibility for addressing problems of opioid abuse.    

2. Nearly one-third (31 percent) of healthcare professionals said they sometimes feel uncomfortable talking with their patients about prescription drug abuse and 40 percent feel discussions of abuse may damage their relationships with patients.    

3. Further, nearly a third of patients (29 percent) worry that asking about abuse would suggest they have a problem and 25 percent worry their physician will stop prescribing medication if they ask too many questions.    

4. Three-quarters of patients and 71 percent of healthcare professionals believe that education is one of the best ways to help them deal with opioid abuse.

 

 

More articles on pain management and opioids:
5 things to know about how web-based tutorials can reduce chronic pain
Multimodal pain management: How it can improve outcomes & reduce opioid dependence
New Hampshire hospital launches program to curb prescription drug abuse


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