Non-Pharmacological Approaches to Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Management: Recommendations from the State-Of-The-Art conference

Cyberseminars: Spotlight on Pain Management

Seminar date: 3/7/2017

Robert Kerns, PhD ; Erin Krebs, MD, MPH


Veterans suffer the burden of chronic pain at a far higher rate than civilians (50-60% for veterans as compared to 20-30% of the general populations).  More than five million veterans have musculoskeletal diagnoses (2000-2011).  Among them, there is a high co-prevalence rates of medical, mental health and substance use disorders, resulting in a greater risk for opioid harms in the veteran population.  VA patients have approximately twice the rate of accidental poisoning deaths as the US general population, and opioids are the most common drug involved, thus the need for further research into non-pharmacological approaches to relieving chronic pain.

Treatments such as mindfulness meditation (e.g. MBSR), CBT, ACT, biofeedback, and hypnosis, among others, have been determined to have at least promising evidence of effectiveness. Although a number of well done trials provide evidence for efficacy of these interventions, the real world effectiveness for these interventions on meaningful outcomes are not well known. Important questions include the effectiveness of these approaches in a population with co-morbidities including opioid use and mental health disorders.

To watch the cyberseminar, listen to audio, or download a PDF handout, please click here.