Time: 11:30 a.m. -1:00 p.m.
Location: Dental Sciences Building, Room D7-11
Over the years a number of different strategies have been used for the treatment of chronic pain. Historically, the most widely used interventions have relied on some form of pharmacotherapy. While not receiving a lot of notoriety interventions that are psychology based have also been widely used for over 50 years. The existence of two widely differing modes of therapy creates a dilemma not only for patients but also health care providers related to which strategy provides that best chance for a successful result. Not to complicate matters but in recent years we have also seen the increased use of complementary and alternative interventions that include such things as yoga, meditation, hypnosis, and herbal therapy. It is often said that successful strategies of intervention provide insight into the underlying mechanism(s) of the condition being treated. If that is the case what have we learned about chronic pain from the wide variety of interventions that have varying degrees of success?
Recently, the American Psychological Society dedicated an issue of their signature journal to the condition of chronic pain. One of the papers makes the point that the more we learn about chronic pain the more we realize how critical psychologist are to the treatment of this condition (see attached). This may be due to the fact that the expertise of psychologists with regard to the brain, behavior and their interaction is at the heart of both the problem and the solution of chronic pain. On the other hand we must not ignore those with a totally different opinion that points to a need to evaluate multi-drug strategies as a more efficacious way of treating pain (see attached). Clearly, what appears to exist is a dilemma that puts the patient square in the middle of a philosophical conundrum that provides the backdrop for what should be an interesting discussion.