How to Address Opioid Abuse with Patients
The Rheumatologist interviews Maggie Wimmer, coordinator of programs and outcomes for Public & Patient Education at HSS, on how to address opioid abuse with patients. “Although prescription medications, like opioids, are effective for treating pain, when it comes to chronic pain, it’s important to provide access to additional, complementary treatments patients can use for the long term,” explained Wimmer. For rheumatologists, most of their patients aren’t aware of what their options are for treating pain, aside from medication.
Wimmer discussed the Pain and Stress Management Program at HSS, which focuses on mind-body techniques, such as mindful breathing, guided meditation and yoga. “Our programs are designed so they can be modified to meet patient needs. For example, when we were implementing meditation programs in the rheumatology clinic, we recognized that patients were struggling with pain from their stiff muscles and joints. To address this [factor], we adapted the program to focus not only on the breath, but on movement as well. The movement aspect assists in lubricating the joints to help ease their pain,” said Wimmer.
Wimmer also shared suggested tips for rheumatologists to speak openly with their patients about alternatives to opioids for managing chronic pain, such as promotion of alternative pain management strategies, and collaboration with the interdisciplinary team.
Read the article at the-rheumatologist.org.