Even though pain is universal, it is experienced differently by each person. Care often requires an integrated approach that responds to the biological, psychological, and social factors influencing pain.
Recently, The Joint Commission published revised pain assessment and management standards. The updated standards, which go into effect January 2018, will require Joint Commission accredited hospitals to provide non-drug pain management options, such as acupuncture. The Joint Commission is a non-profit, independent organization that accredits nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.
These new standards are a clear recognition not only of the dangers of opioid abuse, but also the value of non-drug approaches to pain management. They will help people dealing with acute and chronic pain reduce their risk of of opioid addiction, emphasize safe opioid and non-opioid prescribing and use, include patient education on pain management care, and potential side effects of treatment.
Non-drug pain management modalities in the revision include: physical therapies (acupuncture, osteopathic manipulation, massage, chiropractic, and physical therapy), relaxation techniques, and cognitive behavioral therapies
The traditional biomedical approach to pain doesn't always work well for many people with pain. We know that pain is a complex bio-psycho-social phenomenon, and the way to achieve the best possible pain control is to use an integrative approach. Hence, it is important for clinicians to be educated in integrative pain management.
The Joint Commission's timely and crucial pain management revisions will allow greater access to qualified licensed acupuncturists and other integrated health care practitioners to help manage pain. Eventually, acupuncturists and doctors may work together in the hospital to provide the best pain management options for their patients.
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