Medication & Treatment

How U.S. Medical Leaders Envision the Future of Treating Chronic Pain

Author| Ben Bobrow, MD

By helping people recognize their ability and their role in healing themselves, we move away from the unidirectional model of "receiving care" towards a more effective bidirectional model of getting help and taking control and responsibility for getting better.

In 2010, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) requested that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) undertake a comprehensive study to set a national roadmap “to increase the recognition of pain as a significant public health problem in the United States.”1

The landmark 2011 IOM report called for a cultural transformation in pain prevention, care, education and research, and recommended "a comprehensive population health-level strategy" to address these important issues.

As expressed in the IOM report, this cultural change in how we view and approach pain in the United States will not be realized without widespread dissemination of the biopsychosocial (holistic) mechanisms that produce and maintain chronic pain and safe and effective pain treatments.

One of the top-line conclusions of the IOM report was that the public, and specifically people with pain, would benefit from a better understanding of pain and its treatment in order to encourage timely care, improve medical management and combat stigma.