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More MS news articles for October 2002

Pain management in the new millennium

October 2002

A new day is dawning in the field of pain management. A recently-enacted requirement by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) in the USA now ensures that patients must receive appropriate pain management in all healthcare settings. A 24-page supplement entitled Advances in Pain Management accompanied the September 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA), and focuses on a variety of approaches to providing comfort for patients in pain including psychological therapies, osteopathic manipulative treatment, barriers among physicians that prevent proper delivery of opioid analgesia, and critical issues surrounding those who care for the dying patient. Several articles focus on pharmacological treatment. One barrier to managing pain with opioids (e.g., morphine) is a misunderstanding of the differences between addiction and physical dependence. Some clinicians are hesitant to prescribe the quantity of opioids necessary for adequate pain management due to a mistaken belief that the patient will become addicted. "With respect to clinical pharmacology, proper control of pain can be accomplished only when healthcare professionals clearly understand differences between addiction and physical dependence; they are not the same," emphasizes the editor of the supplement. The seven research papers contained in the supplement present evidence that chronic pain can be managed successfully.

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