INDIANAPOLIS While many studies have looked at the treatment of chronic pain from the patient's perspective, there has been little research on those who provide care for chronic pain.
In a study in the November 2010 issue of the journal Pain Medicine, researchers from the Regenstrief Institute, the Indiana University School of Medicine, the IU School of Liberal Arts and the Roudebush VA Medical Center report that chronic pain takes a toll on primary care providers as well as their patients. They conclude that providers' needs should not be ignored if pain care is to be improved.
Most chronic pain is treated by primary care providers and necessitates frequent interactions with the patient. In this study the researchers surveyed 20 primary care providers (15 physicians, four nurse practitioners and one pharmacist) with varying clinical experience in the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. All 10 men and 10 women were asked open-ended questions designed to elicit their experiences with chronic pain management.
"Many providers criticized themselves because they felt unable to treat chronic pain effectively. Many internalized their lack of success with pain treatment, felt stress, and had guilty feelings. These negative feelings were compounded by hostile interactions with some patients, suspicions and distrust of some patients, especially those they suspected might be seeking pain medications for uses other than pain control, or to sell," said study first author Marianne Matthias, Ph.D., a Regenstrief Institute investigator, adjunct assistant professor of communication studies in the IU School of Liberal Arts and a research scientist at the Roudebush VA Medical Center.
Unlike other symptoms, such as elevated blood pressure or cholesterol readings, pain is subjective without any objective tests to confirm. One individual might rate pain a four on a one to 10 pain scale; another might label the same degree o
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Indiana University School of Medicine