I have been writing about the management of chronic pain for close to a decade. Although chronic pain occurs regularly in practice, many healthcare professionals are not sure of the best options to manage it. Any time I present on the topic, I usually have a full room as colleagues. Clinicians are always looking for the best treatments to manage many chronic pain conditions. I was working on a program over the last week and I ran across a couple of tools developed by the Centre of Effective Practice that I think can help anyone manage chronic pain.
This tool is a great starting point. It reviews many of the key steps to assessing a patient with pain. The tool covers the non-pharmacological options, the role of non-opioid medications and opioid medications. It is a quick summary that should answer many of the common questions regarding the appropriate management of pain. Like most of these tools, I encourage clinicians to download them. You want to have them available when you are assessing a patient.
Appendix – My Favourite Part of Tool
As a pharmacist, my favourite part of this tool is the Appendix to the Management of Chronic Non Cancer Pain Tool. This tool summarizes the evidence for each of the interventions in chronic pain as well as the risk of harm. It also provides the starting dosage, titration and adverse effects of both non-opioid and opioid treatments. The drug table alone is worth downloading for any primary care clinician.
There is a good section in this tool that provides extensive key patient counselling points that any healthcare professional can integrate into a discussion regarding opioid therapy.
Although pharmacists were not the primary target group for this tool, I would recommend for every pharmacist to download it as it will help when counselling patients with chronic pain.