Author: Kevin L. Zacharoff
Fierce debates rage on about chronic pain. These include the utility of chronic opioid therapy, the value proposition of multidisciplinary approaches, reimbursement related issues, risk of aberrant drug related behaviors, along with many other questions related to assessment and treatment. Additionally, and unfortunately, education about chronic pain, one of the most prevalent medical conditions, remains poor or nonexistent for most clinicians in the majority of medical training programs, including the training of most if not all clinical disciplines. While many existing and familiar clinical strategies for managing other medical conditions can often be applied to chronic pain, educational deficits may often result in the lack of application of commonly accepted clinical tools and approaches, of which none are more important than dialogue and communication. This presentation will focus on the significant role of communication as an often forgotten yet supremely important component of assessment, treatment plan formulation, and management. It seems logical that if pain is one of the few medical conditions where the patient has a say in whether or not a treatment plan is successful, communication should be a consistent and omnipresent component of the healthcare provider and patient relationship.