Best To Treat Pain in an Integrated Way

By Ed Coghlan.

The importance of integrated care for treating chronic pain has long been accepted as optimum for patients. Chronic pain, by its very nature, is not something that can be treated only one way.

The prestigious Mayo Clinic is talking about the issue this week, publicizing  a review of several case studies in Explore, where Mayo Clinic researchers examined the potential role of integrative medicine as a therapeutic and diagnostic benefit when combined with a patient’s treatment plan.

“We have done over two dozen studies on massage and acupuncture showing the benefits that both treatments have on patients. Skilled practitioners of integrative medicine are able to be a member of the care team and contribute their expertise, while also delivering care directly to patients,” says Brent Bauer, M.D., director of research for Mayo Clinic’s Integrative Medicine Program, who is the lead author.

For the Executive Director of the Academy of Integrative Pain Management, the fact that the Mayo Clinic is talking about integrative care is a good thing.

“I’m really happy to see that some of the thought leaders in American healthcare are making greater use of complementary and integrative treatments, especially in the context of pain management,” said Bob Twillman, Ph.D., FAPM. “It’s always been true that, the more eyes you have on a patient, the greater the likelihood that you will be able to accurately identify existing issues, and these anecdotes reinforce that notion.”

Twillman thinks expanding the use of integrative treatments, clinicians will bring anticipated benefits like improving pain, function and quality of life and some unanticipated, like identifying previously undetected pathology.

“Having been a clinician for a long time, the benefits of this approach are intuitive to me and it’s really good to see thought leaders like the folks at Mayo Clinic reaching the same realization,” Dr. Twillman said. “We need to continue telling this story to people who make insurance coverage decisions, so that these treatments will be available to every person who needs them.”

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