During the last few years, much attention has been given to the opioid crisis. Many people have been negatively affected, including people who live with chronic pain. A number of employees working in a variety of roles at New Hanover Regional Medical Center have joined with others in our community to address the challenges we face of the opioid crisis.
One recently developed intervention is called Reframe Pain. It is designed to address controlling chronic pain that many people live with every day. The goal is to educate people to know that pain can be controlled using a variety of therapies, not just opioids. An important part of safely controlling pain is identifying what a patient’s goals are and how best to manage pain in order to be able to do those things.
The Reframe Pain initiative helps educate people about the varied tools to manage pain.
There are several types of medications that do not contain opioids but do help relieve pain. Medications such as acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are traditional pain medications options. Other medications that were originally developed to treat conditions not necessarily associated with pain work well to control pain too, especially the neuropathic type of pain that is often described as burning, or stinging, or tingling.
In addition to the different medications, there are also a variety of non-medication therapies that can be very helpful to control pain. Some of them such as prayer, listening to music, doing puzzles, doing hand crafts, reading, or gardening can be done by an individual. Others can be done after instruction or with the use of a video or audio guide. These include meditation, guided imagery, or even yoga or tai chi. Other interventions for pain control require the expertise of a professional. Those include physical therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic work, or energy work such as Therapeutic Touch or Reiki and interventions by pain management physicians.
Although the opioid crisis has been incredibly challenging for many people, we are excited to help people living with pain by sharing a variety of options people can use to control pain at a level at which they can do the activities that are important to them.