In an excellent commentary in the November/December 2007 issue of the North Carolina Medical Journal, rheumatologist John B. Winfield, MD. addresses the woeful neglect of many physicians to recognize and treat chronic pain. He notes that pain patients are often “punted” from the primary care physician to a pain clinic, back to the PCP, then finally to a rheumatologist.
In an effort to help physicians treat chronic pain patients and prevent patients from being passed around like a football, Dr. Winfield offers physicians five suggestions:
- Treat pain as a disease entity and not as just a symptom or sensory entity.
- Classify the type of pain as soon as it is recognized.
- Spend a little time catching up on the latest fibromyalgia research.
- Apply some basic methods to measure pain, fatigue, sleep, psychological well-being and daily functioning of patients.
- Don’t be afraid of prescribing opioids.
Published On: February 22, 2008