Chronic Pain

Pain affects the lives of millions of Americans every day and improving pain care and the lives of patients with pain is a public health imperative. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released updated and expanded recommendations for clinicians providing pain care for adult outpatients with short- and long-term pain.

Updated CDC Guidance | November 3, 2022. 

CDC Press Release: Prescribing Opioids for Pain ​Guidance

The recommendations are grouped into four areas:

  1. Determining whether or not to initiate opioids for pain
  2. Selecting opioids and determining dosages
  3. Deciding duration of initial opioid prescription and conducting follow-up
  4. Assessing risk and addressing potential harms of opioid use

In addition, these five guiding principles should broadly inform implementation across recommendations. Learn more.

  1. Acute, subacute and chronic pain needs to be appropriately assessed and treated independent of whether opioids are part of a treatment regimen.
  2. Recommendations are voluntary and are intended to support, not supplant, individualized, person-centered care. Flexibility to meet the care needs and the clinical circumstances of a specific patient is paramount.
  3. A multimodal and multidisciplinary approach to pain management attending to the physical health, behavioral health, long-term services and supports, and expected health outcomes and well-being of each person is critical.
  4. Special attention should be given to avoid misapplying this clinical practice guideline beyond its intended use or implementing policies purportedly derived from it that might lead to unintended and potentially harmful consequences for patients.
  5. Clinicians, practices, health systems, and payers should vigilantly attend to health inequities; provide culturally and linguistically appropriate communication (117), including communication that is accessible to persons with disabilities; and ensure access to an appropriate, affordable, diversified, coordinated, and effective nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic pain management regimen for all persons.

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