By Pamela Katz Ressler, MS, RN, HN-BC, adjunct faculty, Pain Research, Educationand Policy Program, Tufts University School of Medicine
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently announced a new multidisciplinary pain program that will be focused on the role of the brain in perceiving, modifying, and managing pain. The program, lead by internationally recognized pain researcher and neuroscientist, Catherine Bushnell, PhD, will be based in the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a part of the National Institutes of Health.
“Dr. Bushnell’s work has profoundly changed the ways in which we understand and study this very important problem,” said NCCAM Director Josephine P. Briggs, M.D. “Under her leadership, this program will continue to work toward the development of better ways to safely and more effectively treat chronic pain, and advance research on the intersection and integration of pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches.”
The NIH announcement of the pain program comes at a critical time in the growing burden of chronic pain in our society. The Institute of Medicine reports that more than 100 million people suffer from chronic pain conditions and nearly $635 billion is spent annually for treatment and lost productivity.
Research projects for the new program will include investigating how chronic pain produces changes in the brain that may modify how the brain reacts to pain medications, such as opioids; as well as exploring factors such as emotion, environment and genetics in pain perception.
The Tufts Pain Research, Education and Policy program faculty and students will look forward to future collaboration with this innovative new program.
Read the July NCCAM Clinical Digest on Chronic Pain and Complementary Health Practices
July 17th, 2012
by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator and administrator
Anticipate, Assess, Alleviate
The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) is the leading professional forum for science, practice and education in the study of pain. Each year the IASP focuses on an area of importance in the field of pain management. This year’s focus is acute pain, with 2010-2011 being designated as the Global Year Against Acute Pain by the IASP. Acute pain is the most frequent reason why patients visit an emergency department. Unfortunately, inadequate acute pain control is common. If uncontrolled or inadequately controlled, acute pain can result in increased health care costs due to longer hospital stays and a higher liklihood of the development of chronic pain. By raising awareness of acute pain as a significant health care issue, the IASP hopes to lessen the gap between acute pain knowledge and research and current clinical practice.
Click here to access resources and information about acute pain mangement and how to become involved in the IASP Global Year Against Acute Pain.
January 30th, 2011
by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator
Untreated or under-treated pain causes needless suffering and negatively affects the quality of life. That is why the management of pain remains a critical area of health care and why the concept is addressed throughout the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) requirements.
We congratulate the Tufts University School of Medicine’s Pain Research, Education and Policy Programs co-founder, Daniel Carr, MD, FABPM for providing the forward to the newly published second edition of Approaches to Pain Management: An Essential Guide for Clinical Leaders
Approaches to Pain Management: An Essential Guide for Clinical Leaders, published by the Joint Commission Resources, provides an overview of pain assessment and management, identifies what the standards require regarding the treatment of patients with pain, and offers guidance on making pain management an integral part of care services. Dr. Carr, an internationally recognized expert in pain management, provides both perspective and vision on the complex nature of pain.
The majority of the book is devoted to the best practices of health care institutions that have adopted focused pain programs. This updated guide also incorporates a global view of pain management, additional organizational best practices—including some from non-U.S. institutions. Other features include the following:
- Summaries of every Joint Commission and Joint Commission International pain assessment and management requirement across all health care settings
- Strategies for identifying and using evidence-based medicine resources for pain management
- Expanded case study chapters from clinical leaders describing how their organizations developed and implemented their pain management activities
- Techniques and ideas for understanding and meeting pain-related standards
- Guidance on committing an organization to pain management improvements
For more information about the newly released edition of Approaches to Pain Management: An Essential Guide for Clinical Leaders, click here
November 29th, 2010
by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP graduate student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator
With an estimated 17 percent of U.S. miliary personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with symptoms of PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Archives of General Psychiatry), the military is now leading the way in integration of western and eastern models of care into the healthcare system. Use of acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and tai chi are currently being utilized in conjuntion with allopathic medical and psychological care. A recent article in Statesman.com highlights these integrative efforts.
Click here to read the article.
June 24th, 2010
By Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator
Thank you to 2010 MS-PREP alumna, Nancy Mitchell, for sending along a recent update to the Cochrane Library and the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews addressing acupuncture and tension-type headaches. In a previous Cochrane Review (2001), acupuncture was found to be inconclusive as a treatment for tension-type headaches. However an updated 2009 Cochrane Review on acupuncture and tension-type headaches, which included 11 randomly controlled trials, concluded that acupuncture may be a valuable treatment option for patients suffering from frequent tension-type headaches.
The Cochrane Review stated: “We reviewed 11 trials which investigated whether acupuncture is effective in the prophylaxis of tension-type headache. Two large trials investigating whether adding acupuncture to basic care (which usually involves only treating unbearable pain with pain killers) found that those patients who received acupuncture had fewer headaches. Forty-seven percent of patients receiving acupuncture reported a decrease in the number of headache days by at least 50%, compared to 16% of patients in the control groups. Six trials compared true acupuncture with inadequate or ‘fake’ acupuncture interventions in which needles were either inserted at incorrect points or did not penetrate the skin. Overall, these trials found slightly better effects in the patients receiving the true acupuncture intervention. Fifty percent of patients receiving true acupuncture reported a decrease of the number of headache days by at least 50%, compared to 41% of patients in the groups receiving inadequate or ‘fake’ acupuncture. Three of the four trials in which acupuncture was compared to physiotherapy, massage or relaxation had important methodological shortcomings. Their findings are difficult to interpret, but collectively suggest slightly better results for some outcomes with the latter therapies. In conclusion, the available evidence suggests that acupuncture could be a valuable option for patients suffering from frequent tension-type headache.”
Cochrane Reviews are an integral part of evidence based medicine. It is important to include both allopathic and integrative medicine studies in the rigorous review process to further our knowledge of effective strategies to treat and manage chronic pain conditions.
May 23rd, 2010
by Pamela Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP student and PREP blog moderator
Thanks to all who participated in the Name Our Blog contest. The entries we received were exceptionally creative and clever, and made choosing a winner extremely difficult for the selection committee. The winning entry, PREP-AIRED was submitted by PREP student Eileen Dube. When asked how she came up with the blog name PREP-AIRED, Eileen stated,
“Basically I thought that the name PREP-AIRED conveyed the idea that in the Pain Research Education and Policy program we are airing our ideas. By airing them we are better prepared to answer questions of others, to think more deeply about things, to see things from a different perspective, and to act. And I love a good play on words any day.”
Here are some of the other great entries we received:
Melzack’s Echo: To recognize Melzack’s pioneering efforts towards pain research, as well the residual echo of its impact
Polemos on Poena: The Greek word for war and the Latin word for pain, preparing us to do battle with pain in our collective work
PPP/Triple P (Pain Program Posting): Recognizing the interactive nature of postings on the blog
Painless: Acknowledging our desire to mitigate pain
We were struck by the thought and creativity, as well as the relevance to the unique PREP program, that went into each of the name submissions. Thank you to all who participated.
Over the next week you will see a new blog heading graphic with the new name: PREP-AIRED, and you will continue to see new content added. The beauty of a blog is the collaborative nature of interaction with others; we welcome and depend on your continued comments and ideas. I am happy to help you post your thoughts or give you suggestions on topics that may be of interest. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
March 29th, 2009