| One-Minute Clinician

Pain Management and the Role of Psychology

I liken pain management to a team sport. We need all the right players on the team. As physicians, and we all look at patients through a certain lens. But working at Stanford and also observing other places, I appreciate the value that pain psychology brings, that physical therapy brings, that all of these different viewpoints on the patient bring to the care and assessment of a person with pain. And so, I’m probably one of the biggest advocates you’ll find for having a very well-rounded team. And pain psychology is just such a critical part of that.

 It’s going to take all of us working together. We’re going to need the federal government. We’re going to need HHS to take a leadership role. And they are, right now, in the process of putting together an internal taskforce around this. At the same time, there’s a great opportunity for all of us to identify the areas within the National Pain Strategy that we can get behind. There’s 17 of these strategic goals. And so, if you are a person who’s suffering from pain, reach out to the patient advocacy groups. They form the consumer--patient advocacy taskforce and have come together to help promote the National Pain Strategy. If you’re a physician watching this, reach out to, for instance, the American Academy of Pain Medicine. But when you try to get behind 17 strategic goals, it gets overwhelming. So I would say find one or two, or three that resonate with you. And then, find ways to get involved to help advance those goals.

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