Pain is a common complaint of patients who visit a family physician, and its appropriate management is a medical mandate. The fundamental principles for pain management are: placing the patient at the center of care; adequately assessing and quantifying pain; treating pain adequately; maximizing function; accounting for culture and gender differences; identifying red and yellow flags early; understanding and differentiating tolerance, dependence and addiction; minimizing side effects; and being familiar with and using CAM therapies when good evidence of efficacy exists. The pharmacologic management of pain requires thorough knowledge of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, cyclo-oxygenase-2-specific inhibitors, and opioids. A table of equianalgesic dosages is useful because patients may need to move from one opioid to another. Accompanying this article are papers discussing 5 common pain disorders seen by family physicians, including: neck pain, low back pain, joint pain, pelvic pain, and cancer/end of life pain. The family physician who learns these principles of pain management and the algorithms for these common pain disorders can serve patients well.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health