Treatment Approaches

Utilizing the biopsychosocial approach to comprehensive assessment, it may then be possible to develop, implement, and refine treatment strategies that are contoured to the unique and individualized needs of the chronic pain patient. This section will survey the use of psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic approaches for the patient with chronic pain.

Ultimately, treatment objectives include alleviation of subjectively perceived discomfort and improvement of the patient's functional capacity. Assessing the patient's goals related to pain will necessarily help guide the pain management plan. Areas for improvement may be reduction of pain to levels that the patient would find tolerable, acquiring comfortable and consistent sleep, comfortable movement, and/or a return to specific activities. The goals of the patient may be divergent from those of the clinician. Failure to identify and address such disparate goals may interfere with establishment of a therapeutic alliance, adherence, and treatment success.

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