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    The Importance of Patient-Centeredness in Opioid Prescribing and Tapering: EMPOWER

    By |2021-02-27T17:38:26-08:00February 27th, 2021|

    A common perception about prescription opioids is that less is better. Health risks exist with prescription opioids. While true, for people taking daily prescription opioids long term, reducing their opioid doses is equally fraught with health risks. Thus, in the rush to help patients take less medication we’ve seen some tragic consequences emerge including deaths. In the past few years a burgeoning literature has described the risks associated with opioid dose changes, particularly rapid dose changes [...]

    Home-Based Virtual Reality for Chronic Low Back Pain: Published Results for our Placebo-Controlled Randomized Controlled Trial

    By |2021-02-24T08:58:22-08:00February 24th, 2021|

    Many of you know I am the chief science advisor at AppliedVR, a digital therapeutics company. My role at AppliedVR aligns with my dual core missions of expanding access to effective pain care and reducing treatment burden for people who have pain. At AppliedVR, we target both missions by translating evidence-based behavioral medicine skills and principles into virtual reality (VR) treatment for chronic pain. We created an immersive, 3D experience that optimizes learning, experience, and chronic [...]

    Virtual Reality for Chronic Pain: Results report + new trial seeks participants

    By |2020-07-24T14:14:45-07:00July 24th, 2020|

    More than 100 million Americans experience ongoing pain. According to one Congressional report, "for every physician certified in pain care, there are more than 28,500 Americans living with chronic pain," suggesting that the U.S. has poor ability to meet demand for expert pain care. Similarly, colleagues and I previously reported that access to behavioral pain care in the U.S. remains poor for a variety of reasons, including few trained and available local therapists and insurance [...]

    COVID-19 Coping in Health Care Clinicians: Essential Resources

    By |2020-07-23T20:02:55-07:00March 28th, 2020|

    COVID-19 presents new challenges for everyone. However, health care clinicians are facing unique personal and professional challenges within the context of a rapidly shifting landscape. Such challenges may include: managing patient and personal health/safety risks for COVID-19 exposure adopting technology and shifting patient care to video visits managing physical distancing and de-contamination protocols for in-person clinic visits rapidly changing organizational protocols for patient care procedures diminished staff/colleague support due to quarantine and illness health/safety concern for [...]

    ‘First do no harm’: The Guardian Feature on Opioid Tapering

    By |2020-10-12T09:52:33-07:00February 16th, 2020|

    I was pleased to have my thoughts on opioid tapering featured in The Guardian feature story on “Life After Opioids” by author Celina Ribiero. I am here to help people understand how and why scientific evidence and patient-centered approaches are critical elements of compassionate and ethical pain care, and why ignoring either of these puts patients at risk for poor outcomes and even grave harms. And lastly, we must remember that being truly patient-centered means recognizing, [...]

    Empowered Relief: Meeting the Needs of a Nation in Pain

    By |2021-03-16T12:05:53-07:00January 29th, 2020|

    Just published my latest post in Psychology Today: "Empowered Relief: Meeting the Needs of a Nation in Pain." In this article I highlight the benefits of integrated pain care, and how brief and digital behavioral medicine treatments can empower patients, expand access to whole-person acute and chronic pain care. It’s an exciting time with much national focus on pain care. In 2016, the U.S. Health and Human Services published the National Pain Strategy [1] (NPS; co-chaired [...]

    Empowered Relief: Expanding Rapid Access to Low-Cost, Evidence-Based Pain Care

    By |2021-03-16T12:07:18-07:00July 3rd, 2019|

    Greetings All, As you know, poor access to comprehensive pain care remains a major problem worldwide. To help address this problem, at Stanford University, I developed a 2-hour skills-based pain treatment class that rapidly equips people to self-manage pain and symptoms. It’s called “Empowered Relief™”. Empowered Relief™ is unique and transformative pain treatment because it: Requires only ONE in-person, 2-hour class Is skills-based and evidence-based 100 people can be treated in a single class (you are only [...]

    NPR ‘Morning Edition’ show on the brain, emotion, and pain

    By |2019-05-20T22:16:44-07:00May 20th, 2019|

    Today National Public Radio featured pain psychology on its "Morning Edition" show. I was pleased to be included among the guests discussing the critical role of thoughts, emotions, and other psychological factors have on our experience of pain. The role of psychology in the experience and treatment of pain in no way diminishes one’s physiological and medical diagnoses or causes for pain. Behavioral treatments offer opportunities to gain control over some of the experience of pain. [...]

    Digital Health Intervention Associated with Less Need for Opioids After Surgery

    By |2021-03-16T12:08:15-07:00May 14th, 2019|

    Results from our newly published randomized controlled study show that patients who engaged with “My Surgical Success,” a fully automated online pain treatment program, stopped opioids sooner after breast cancer surgery than patients assigned to a control intervention. The study was published in Pain Medicine (Darnall et al, 2019). This finding is important because it suggests that a low-cost, scalable, digital treatment may help patients effectively self-manage symptoms and enhance recovery after surgery. Our study is [...]

    My Op-Ed in “The Hill”: CDC Issues Clarification; Organizations and Policymakers Called on to Align with Federal Guidance

    By |2019-04-28T18:50:12-07:00April 28th, 2019|

    Last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published in the New England Journal of Medicine a long-awaited statement opposing the misapplication of the 2016 opioid prescribing guideline for chronic pain. The CDC clarification is an important step in acknowledging the harms to patients caused from rigid opioid policies that failed to account for individual differences in the experience and treatment of pain and calls for the implementation of best practices in opioid prescribing and de-prescribing. [...]

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