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Common Treatments Fail to Relieve Chronic Pain
cweinbl posted:
Currently available treatments for chronic noncancer pain are unable to alleviate pain or restore functioning in a majority of patients. Those observations, from a new series on pain appearing in The Lancet, highlight large gaps in the evidence base and call for more research to assess the effectiveness of combination therapies to relieve chronic pain, while ensuring that patients have realistic expectations about pain relief.

The authors conclude that, despite important advances in understandings of the mechanisms underlying pain and a growing range of treatment options, overall effectiveness remains inconsistent and poor. "Of all treatment modalities reviewed, the best evidence for pain reduction averages roughly 30% in about half of treated patients, and these pain reductions do not always occur with concurrent improvement in function."

Because current treatments by themselves provide only modest improvements in pain and physical and emotional functioning, future research should focus on the effectiveness of combining various treatments; such as, combinations of several drugs, combining drugs with physical treatments, and pharmacological combined with psychological treatments.

For the foreseeable future, they note, "people with chronic pain will continue to live with some level of pain irrespective of the treatment or treatments they receive." Therefore, chronic pain management should include a "dialogue with the patient about realistic expectations of pain relief, and bring focus to improvement of function."

A companion editorial to The Lancet series on pain reminds healthcare providers of their ongoing obligation to manage pain more effectively and states the following?
[blockquote>In 1931, physician and philosopher Albert Schweitzer said: "We must all die. But if I can save [patients> from days of torture, that is what I feel is my great and ever new privilege. Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself." To help eliminate or mitigate an individual's pain is a privilege that clinicians must neither forget nor neglect.

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