Cleveland Clinic Program Looks to Change First-Option for Pain

October 5, 2016: The American health care system is currently grappling with how to safely prescribe opioids, a group of drugs that can be key to the successful treatment of severe acute pain, but that can be dangerous, even deadly, when used long-term for the treatment of chronic pain.

In an August 17 article for TIME Magazine, Dr Andre Machado, chairman of the Neurological Institute and the Charles and Christine Carroll Family Endowed of the Cleveland Clinic, compared prescription opioids to an airplane that is easy to get off the ground but difficult to land.

That’s why the Cleveland Clinic is in the midst of a large pilot program for patients with chronic pain in which prescription of opioids will be considered, but not as the starting point. Instead, the program will rely more heavily on physical therapy and mental health therapy, both backed by evidence for the safe long-term management of pain.

In this episode of Move Forward Radio, Dr Machado and Ian Stephens, a physical therapist participating in the pilot program, discuss not only how the health care system must adapt in response to America’s opioid epidemic, but also how the mentality of patients must change—shifting our focus from the elimination of pain to the improvement of function.

APTA’s #ChoosePT campaign is raising awareness about safe alternatives to opioids for long-term pain managemen

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