Friday, August 19, 2011

Better chronic pain management - Canadian Medical Association Journal

Pain care management needs to be improved, with health care professionals committing to improve care as well as a retooling of the health care system to help people who are suffering, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) (pre-embargo link only) http://www.cmaj.ca/site/embargo/cmaj111065.pdf.

According to a recent analysis, chronic pain affects people of all ages, with an estimated 500,000 Canadians aged 12 to 44 years, 38% of seniors in long-term care institutions and 27% of seniors living at home experiencing regular pain.

"Experts agree that much can be done now with newer analgesics, nonpharmacologic techniques such as nerve blocks and physical therapies, as well as spiritual and supportive care," write Drs. Noni MacDonald, Ken Flegel, Paul H├ębert and Matthew Stanbrook. "Availability of quality care for pain is the major problem. Health professionals have not mounted a response commensurate with the magnitude of the problem."

The authors argue for a broad strategy to help increase pain management expertise, including education, technology, and supported self-care and lay coaching.