A recent position statement by the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) concludes that patients with persistent pain need better access to psychosocial care in all healthcare settings.1 The SBM offers 10 health policy recommendations for improving such access, including removing system-related barriers, providing referral tools, reimbursing for evidence-based psychosocial approaches, prioritizing generalist-level and specialist pain training across disciplines, and recognizing pain psychology as a specialty. Unfortunately, the authors note, “despite persuasive evidence supporting the efficacy of psychosocial approaches, these interventions are inaccessible to the majority of Americans.”
Explore this issueJune 2018
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Rheumatologists see a lot of patients with persistent pain—defined as lasting for six months or more—among the 25.3 million Americans who experience daily pain identified in the 2012 National Health Interview Survey conducted by the National Institutes of Health. Meanwhile, traditional pain management tools, such as opioid analgesics, for chronic, nonmalignant pain are coming under greater scrutiny.
But what is psychosocial pain care, what can it contribute to pain management, who provides it, and how can rheumatologists get more involved?