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We all want to help alleviate our patients’ pain. However, the word pain should not produce a knee-jerk reaction of prescribing pain medication.
America’s opioid epidemic is known throughout the world as a major public health crisis. Yet debates about what needs to be done persist while people die due to opioid overdoses.
And doctors are still tasked with treating patients suffering from chronic pain, despite the increased pressure to reduce opioid prescriptions.
Perhaps, as physicians, the first step to doing our part in addressing the problem is to treat chronic pain the way it should be. Yes, we all want to help alleviate our patients’ pain. However, the word pain should not produce a knee-jerk reaction of prescribing pain medication.
The debate around opioids will likely continue for years to come. Yet, doctors have the opportunity to do something about it today. Instead of reaching for that prescription pad or the e-prescribing tab, pause and ask yourself what functionally can be done to help eliminate the patient’s pain. If you don’t know the answer to that question, consider referring the patient to someone who can.