by Susan E. Mazer, Ph.D.
Published by Healing HealthCare Systems, May 2017
Pain management has reached the apex of conflict between what patients have a right to expect and how physicians balance safe pain relief with suffering.
With the Opioid Epidemic being attributed in part to the over-prescribing by physicians, the push to find alternatives is greater now than in the past. However, there is little understanding about the experience and mechanisms of pain and its management.
This paper provides an overview of the history of pain theories and their relationship to patients’ empowerment in managing their conditions. The dictum that pain is not a disease, but rather a symptom, allows for broader understanding and exploration on a per patient basis.
Theories that inform pain management practices, such as Focused Attention, Attention Restoration, and Restorative Environments are also reviewed. In addition, research that points to the patient’s pain beliefs, attitudes, and emotional state informing their capacity to self-regulate pain and the effectiveness of pain management strategies is discussed.
The C.A.R.E. Channel and C.A.R.E. with Guided Imagery are discussed in the context of current pain management practices and creating an environment of care that is, itself, a means of mitigating pain. This includes concerns about comfort and self-management of pain that extend beyond hospitalization.