WASHINGTON – As the prescription opioid crisis rages, how physicians evaluate, define, and treat chronic pain is evolving.
“In the science books, there’s a definition of pain,” explained Dr. Patrice Harris, psychiatrist and chair of the American Medical Association’s Task Force to Reduce Prescription Opioid Abuse. But how individuals actually perceive pain in different situations is very complex. No matter what kind of measuring tool physicians apply, she noted, “pain is going to be personal.”
In a candid interview, Dr. Harris discussed the limitation of pain scales, the value of conversations between physicians and their patients, and the importance of cultural competency to alleviate suffering and avoid unintentional harm.
On Twitter @whitneymcknight