3 ways clinicians can prevent opioid dependency among chronic pain patients

Wayne Jonas, MD, a physician, retired army medical officer and alternative medicine researcher, shared three ways clinicians can help chronic pain patients  avoid opioid dependency in an Sept. 24 post on his website.

Here are the three tips:

1. Encourage communication and collaboration across the care team. Patients need a healthcare team that can work together and share important information. Most patients see their primary care physicians for chronic pain management.

"However, if your pain remains uncontrolled, it might be time to seek out other practitioners," Dr. Jonas writes.

2. Provide alternative pain therapies. Nondrug approaches like guided meditation or relaxation can help reduce patients' pain or teach them how to better cope with it.

"Biofeedback, yoga and cognitive behavioral therapy, in which they learn to change their thinking around their pain are also great non-drug approaches," he writes.

3. Provide guidance for medication management. Physicians should help chronic pain patients manage medications with the goal of reducing or eliminating opioid use. They should also encourage patients to track their pain levels and any nondrug approaches they use to cope with pain before their next visit, Dr. Jonas said.

More articles on opioids:

Viewpoint: Pain is a symptom, not a disease

Justice Department allocates $319M+ to fight opioid epidemic

4 ways hospital leaders can proactively address the opioid epidemic

 

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