Talking to your patients about safe and effective alleviation of pain can be challenging.

Talking to Patients About PainTalking

Talking to your patients about safe and effective alleviation of pain can be challenging. While prescription opioids are sometimes part of a comprehensive pain management plan, there are a number of possible ways to address patients’ pain and overall well-being. When you start a patient conversation about pain management, begin by checking the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). The PMP tracks a number of controlled substances and can help you make smarter prescribing decisions.

Having a policy for prescription pain medications in place can help frame the conversation about pain management. For example, if your policy states that patients may receive prescription pain medications from only one physician or provider at a time, it makes it easier to talk more with patients about other ways they can get comfortable. In addition to tracking controlled substances, the PMP also provides information about the number of prescribers issuing and pharmacies dispensing prescriptions.

Prescribers may consider integrating the following guidelines to frame the conversation about safe and effective alleviation of pain:

Use motivational interviewing techniques, including asking open-ended questions, to encourage patients to share their own stories.

Allowing patients to explore their own circumstances and options, when paired with clinical guidance, helps to identify psychosocial factors that could be contributing to patients’ experiences of pain.

To help patients feel cared for, offer affirmations when patients talk about positive coping strategies that have worked for them in the past.

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