The COVID-19 Pandemic's Impact on People with Pain
A Message from the Pain Management Collaboratory Coordinating Center
The COVID-19 pandemic affects all of us and people with pain may feel particularly anxious. Managing physical and emotional aspects of pain is difficult under normal circumstances, and veterans and military service members and their families may feel particularly vulnerable due to the many new physical and emotional challenges brought on, or heightened, by the pandemic.
We at the NIH-DoD-VA Pain Management Collaboratory strongly encourage everyone to continue to adhere to public health guidelines to reduce risk of personal exposure to COVID-19 and to protect the public’s health. For up-to-date information on the recommendations of the CDC, DoD, and VA, please follow the links in the section below.
The president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine has published an informational message related to pain management amid the pandemic at https://painmed.org/aapm-news/message-from-the-aapm-president-about-covid-19. It includes guidance about interacting with pain-management specialists, including use of telehealth approaches to promote access to pain care, as well as information about medications, billing, and reimbursement.
Remember that it is particularly important in times of stress to strive to maintain those activities that are known to be useful for managing pain and staying healthy, such as not using tobacco products, eating well and exercising regularly. In fact, many movement therapies are known to be effective for managing pain and include:
- structured exercise
- tai chi
For many people, skills for coping with pain previously learned from therapists, classes, and other interactions with healthcare providers can be especially helpful in times of stress and include:
- cognitive-behavioral therapy
- acceptance and commitment therapy
- mindfulness-based stress reduction
Further Information on COVID-19
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care
Department of Defense
Additional Resources for Managing Chronic Pain
Our PMC editor sat down with Dr. Seal to talk about alternative approaches to pain management, integrative medicine, the VA’s Whole Health model for patient care, and working with the veteran population.
As studies in Pain Management Collaboratory research nonpharmacological alternatives to chronic pain, it is important to consider what one should do with unused prescription opioids in their possession. The proper way to dispose of opioids is often unclear, and often misconstrued by the headlines.
It is important to honestly and openly share your experiences with chronic pain with your provider(s). You’ll want to be prepared for a series of questions that providers are likely to ask. Think about the following items, and perhaps take notes about your pain experience for a few weeks prior to the appointment.
Pain: Considering Complementary Approaches (eBook)
Pain is the most common reason for seeking medical care. It is also a common reason why people turn to complementary health approaches. This 47-page eBook provides an overview of complementary health approaches for pain, including acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, spinal manipulation, yoga, and more. You’ll find summaries of what the science says about whether these approaches are useful and safe, as well as tips to help you be an informed consumer. Published: July 2019