International Stakeholder Community of Pain Experts and Leaders Call for an Urgent Action on Forced Opioid Tapering

This week we published in Pain Medicine a letter opposing community-based forced prescription opioid tapering in patients taking long-term prescription opioids. The letter expresses deep concern over a lack of patient protections and evidence to support reductive policies that center on forced opioid tapering, particularly rapidly and to extremely low doses. Indeed, across the U.S. and in other countries, certain prescription policies have moved ahead of the science. Opioid prescribing limitations are being enacted without having clear evidence for [...]

2019-03-13T20:31:23-07:00December 15th, 2018|

My Op-Ed in “The Hill” – A Case for Patient-Centered for Pain Research and Treatment

Healthcare remains a top priority and hotly contested political issue for Americans. Foremost among health concerns are pain treatment, opioids, and access to care. In the run-up to the mid-term elections, The Hill published my Op-Ed on the importance of patient-centered in research, treatment and healthcare policy. A soundbite: “We risk repeating past mistakes by applying a one-size-fits-all regulatory ‘solution’ that fails to address the specific needs of the individual and treat their pain.” Read my [...]

2019-03-23T11:47:57-07:00November 7th, 2018|

National Spotlight: Congressional Briefing, and Advocacy for Patient-Centered Research and Pain Care

Earlier this month I was honored to be an invited speaker at a Washington D.C. Congressional Briefing focused on the “Opioid Recovery Act of 2018.” The open session drew key stakeholders from varied backgrounds. I used my time to describe how my PCORI-funded research project is an important part of the solution. Latest data suggests that almost 18 million Americans are taking long-term prescription opioids. Currently, there is no good evidence for how to best reduce long-term prescription [...]

2018-12-15T11:21:21-07:00October 22nd, 2018|

Scientific American: The science of pain relief mindset interventions I was pleased to be invited by Scientific American to post a blog describing our work on targeted mindset interventions for pain relief and opioid reduction. This work holds promises for dismantling common barriers to pain psychology treatment in outpatients and surgical settings because the interventions are brief, low-cost, and some are even online! Read the blog post here.

2018-12-15T10:52:55-07:00April 10th, 2018|

Our new JAMA study on opioid tapering challenges assumptions, holds promise for patients

Chronic pain affects up to one-third of the world population. We recognize that an individual approach to treating pain is needed and that for some patients, prescription opioids are necessary. However, the overemphasis on treating chronic pain with opioids has been associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. With 6.8% of the U.S. population now taking long-term opioids, there is an urgent need to reduce opioids and patient risks and to treat pain better. In my team’s [...]

2019-03-23T11:49:23-07:00February 19th, 2018|

Changing Mindset for Pain Relief

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is evidence-based medicine for reducing the detrimental effects of negative mindset in the context of pain. Transforming negative mindset is shown to reduce pain and improve pain treatment outcomes. The best part is that psychological treatment is non-pharmacological and very low risk. In fact, treating negative mindset in the context of pain can help pain medications work better – which may lead to fewer pills. Click here to read Beth Darnall’s full story [...]

2018-12-15T11:14:42-07:00May 23rd, 2017|

FREE Webinar on Alternatives to Opioids for Pain Treatment

Please join me and the President of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, Dr. Steve Stanos, on May 9, 2017, from 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CST, for a lively discussion on reducing opioid use in the treatment of chronic pain. Discussion topics include: The psychology of pain and its role in determining a path to treatment Leading non-opioid treatment modalities to address chronic pain and the latest research on pain catastrophizing The need to support [...]

2018-12-15T15:20:45-07:00May 8th, 2017|

“Scientific American” Feature on Treating Pain without Pills

The opioid crisis is forcing doctors to take different approaches to treating pain. In some cases, patients who have been prescribed opioids for years or decades are being abandoned or forced to quickly taper off opioids -- two poor approaches. Other patients are being steered in new directions that can improve pain and function with lower risks. I was honored to be featured in this Scientific American story (May 2017, Author: Stephani Sutherland, Ph.D.) in which the [...]

2019-03-23T11:50:43-07:00April 22nd, 2017|

Using Psychology to Help People Have Less Pain After Surgery

At the Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab, one of our active research studies is focused on how to help prepare people who are heading to surgery. We are equipping them with the information and skills they can use to reduce their own distress and discomfort after surgery. Ideally, this helps people need less pain medication. The program is called "My Surgical Success," and we are testing in women undergoing surgery for breast cancer at Stanford [...]

2019-03-21T15:46:06-07:00December 20th, 2016|

Pain Psychology Resources Available to You Right Now

Optimize your mind-body connection with information and resources that empower you to reduce pain and its impact on your brain and body. Understanding Pain in less than 5 minutes, and what to do about it! (5:00) Learn out Pain Psychology (12:47) What Is Pain Catastrophizing? (6:53) Free Online Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) 8-week course. Learn more here. Free Mindfulness App and Guided Meditations. Download here. Free Mobile Relaxation App:  Breathe2Relax (from the Department of Defense) Download here.

2018-12-15T11:13:18-07:00September 11th, 2016|