Clinicians walk a tightrope when trying to help their patients with chronic pain. They want to be able to ease a patient’s suffering with medication, but must be mindful of the risks of addiction. There are some non-medication treatments for pain, but they’re often hard to access or not covered by insurance. Finding the balance can be challenging and emotionally taxing. And in the wake of the opioid crisis, many clinicians tend to err on the side of caution and under-treat pain.
Antje M. Barreveld and Haider J. Warraich are two physicians deeply familiar with this balancing act. Having seen the heartbreaking effects that opioids can have on patients and their families, both physicians strive to find the right path forward. In this week’s “First Opinion Podcast,” they discuss how to treat chronic pain adequately and ethically.