2016 Chronic Pain Outlook – A Community Coming Together

2016 Chronic Pain Outlook – A Community Coming Together

The Founder and President of the US Pain Foundation believes that 2016 will be a positive one for chronic pain sufferers.

“There are indication that the chronic pain community is coming together,” said Paul Gileno who heads the nation’s largest and most influential pain patient advocacy group.

Gileno points out that whatever your specific malady, be it arthritis, migraines, RSD, cancer, fibromyalgia or something else, there’s a common reason to fight chronic pain—because it impacts all those (and other) conditions where chronic pain exists.

“The stigma of chronic pain remains,” he told the National Pain Report in a year-end interview. “It’s still a taboo subject in some corners.”

But it’s the potential unity that Gileno is focused on.

2015 ended with a big controversy in chronic pain, one that is continuing as the calendar turns.  The Centers for Disease Control controversial Draft Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain has dominated the debate. The CDC has been widely criticized for not including any of the major physician and patient pain advocacy groups in developing the guidelines. (Here’s a story on Gileno’s criticism)

“The CDC guidelines are an overreaction to addiction and abuse and kept out a legitimate point of view that opioids can help millions in chronic pain,”’ said Gileno.

The criticism was so intense that the CDC decided to open a public comment period for a month. The last chance to comment is January 13.

“Ironically, the CDC might unify us,” Gileno pointed out.

Another federal document, this one larger and more comprehensive is expected to be released early in 2016. The National Pain Strategy (NPS)

The NPS looks at chronic pain well beyond the opioid debate. It includes an emphasis on professional education and training, public education and communication, service delivery and reimbursement, prevention and care, disparities, and population research. The draft included input from Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Defense, and Department of Veterans Affairs. The draft also reflects input from scientific and clinical experts and pain patient advocates.

“The NPS could help us in attracting financing and funding for research,” said Gileno. “An important area of the NPS is to devote time and resources to education. Many people still do not understand what having chronic pain means, and it is critically important that more people understand this terrible condition.”

The US Pain Foundation ran a recent survey that the National Pain Report helped promote. The results of the poll are another reason Gileno is optimistic about 2016 for chronic pain.

“We had 800 people sign up to be trained to advocate on behalf of chronic pain patients and their families,” said Gileno. “That gives us hundreds more people to talk with legislators, Congress and the media about chronic pain. It’s a great development.”

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If you haven’t commented on the CDC Guidelines you can do here. Remember, the deadline to comment is January 13.

If you have story ideas for the National Pain Report, please contact us by email: editor@nationalpainreport.com

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 8 comments for this article
  1. Lakewolf Whitecrow at 3:59 am

    The treatment of chronic pain has turned into a political discussion.

    This is why so many doctors are being penalised for prescription of opiates and opioids (and yes, there IS a biochemical difference!) This turns any doctor/patient conversation from a purely medical one into a pseudomedical one, infused with the doctor’s fear of retaliation by the government if he/she should be targeted as “running a drug mill”.

    The same tactics can easily be seen as those that would have occurred in Nazi Germany. Thankfully, those people were euthanised outright rather than being forced to commit suicide. However, the same thinking that occurred in Nazi Germany pervades our political discussions today. They’re not euthanising us because the world would have to sit up and take notice.

    I can see the worldwide headlines now: “33 Million Americans Put To Death Because Of Chronic Pain”

    Google “History of the drug war in America”. From the CIA bringing in heroin from what was then Burma to the criminalisation of marijuana (because of the myriad of jazz musicians who smoked it, most of whom were African-American ) amid fears of its use possibly causing a “Negro uprising”, the history is eye-opening, to say the very least…and (more accurately) nauseating and infuriating.

  2. Celeste Cooper at 8:52 am

    BA has a very good point. We do need focus on holding physicians and pharmacists accountable for dropping patients, sometimes causing great harm, even death. Yet, in this climate patients have no rights, and physicians are told how to practice medicine or lose everything they have worked hard to achieve..

    In most states, patient abandonment is an actionable offense by the governing organization, such as the AMA or AOA, and through the legal system. And though state laws may vary, a simple statement that “I am no longer treating your pain, you will have to see a pain specialist” is not sufficient to negate medical malpractice. Abandonment becomes actionable and should be reported when the physician and patient have an established relationship and the physician has been treating the patient, the patient requires continued care, and sudden withdrawal of necessary treatment causes patient injury. To avoid patient abandonment charges, the physician should provide written documentation regarding the terms and their should be sufficient time for the patient to continue the care, and some states, and if the physician is prudent, they will have resources for the patient. What I experienced, and what I have heard from patients, this is not happening.

    Great comment. It would be good to see a piece written by an attorney on patient abandonment, and what recourse patients and their families have when the patient has been injured because of sudden withdrawal of care.

  3. Kim at 6:40 am

    The government has created an atmosphere of hysteria when in comes to the stigma surrounding the treatment of chronic pain.

  4. BL at 10:56 pm

    B A, over prescribing causes overdoses and addiction, under prescribing does not. If someone says that they will commit suicide if they don’t have their pain meds, they are viewed as unstable. The connection is not made to the chronic pain.

  5. Kristine (Krissy) at 2:20 pm

    B A you are right. Did you mention that in your comment to the CDC?

  6. B A at 11:03 am

    One thing I would like to see is those who under treat pain punished. Physicians and pharmacists should be held accountable for a patient who suffers due to refusing medication that has shown to help. Overprescribing is being punished, why not under treating?

  7. Kristine (Krissy) at 7:08 am

    I have hope that 2016 will bring a strong beginning to more understanding, education and strengthened research for pain patients, their families and doctors. We know we are on the brink of something, and with the voices of The National Pain Report, The U.S. Pain Foundation and the many hard-working advocates and patients, there is now hope spread around the U.S. that these voices will be heard loud and clear.

    Thank you U.S. Pain Foundation, The National Pain Report and your staff and volunteers for being the critical voice we so desperately need!

  8. J at 6:39 am

    Suffice to say, due to a car accident three years ago, I have had a total knee procedure (which is now loose and, as a result, makes it close to impossible to go upstairs in my home), CRPS which was caused by the total knee, several spinal injections — all of which haven’t done a lick of good, chiropractor visits and again, not much good came from those and now I am facing back surgery.

    Of course, the doctor explained the surgery will not alleviate all of my back pain but it will help some.

    Some … so @ 59 years of age, another surgery which will only help “some” … what does that mean exactly?

    All of that aside, I wonder if there are any legal means that we, as chronic pain sufferers, can investigate to, at the very least, ensure our last resort to our chronic pain — opioids and others — aren’t taken away from us.

    In an article a few weeks ago, the knowledgeable gentleman (name escapes me at the moment) said that torture was against the law.

    If the CDC is successful with their plan to place more restrictions with respect to obtaining medication that allows us to lead “somewhat” normal lives, what do we do then? Is there anything we can do as a group?

    Monthly urine tests, chronic pain clinic appointments, unnecessary spinal injections and everything else you can think of are taking their toll on my body.

    Without the meds — 2 Oxycodone in the morning — I will not have the ability to go downstairs, dress and go to work (which allows me to have a pay the mortgage on my home, vehicle, etc.).

    What happens then? What can we do? How do we get through each and every day?

    If the CDC is successful, my job, home, car will be lost and there’s no telling where I will end up.

    What, if anything, can we do?