The Centers for Disease Control recently issued new recommendations for prescribing opioids for chronic pain, in order to address the opioid epidemic that our country is now facing. At Spine & Nerve, our approach is consistent with the CDC’s guidelines for opioids. The opiate epidemic is a very serious problem, and the care providers at Spine & Nerve Diagnostic Center continue to follow an ever-evolving “best practices” approach that incorporates an integrated, multi-disciplinary pain management plan. Our approach to the treatment of chronic pain includes cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy, biofeedback, exercise and other alternative, non-opioid methods of pain relief. The goal of this multi-disciplinary approach is a non-reliance on opioids for all patients.
Our clinicians assess each patient to ensure the efficacy of their therapy, including urine drug screenings, assessments of anxiety and other measures of overall well-being, and functional improvement tests. We avoid prescribing doses of more than 90 morphine milligram equivalents (MME) per day; on the occasions that our care providers do see a need to prescribe over 90 MMEs per day, the decision is carefully weighed, discussed among all the prescribing providers on staff, and is justifiable given the chronic pain patient’s physical need and proven track record of responsible opioid use. As a patient-centered pain practice, we take into account the needs of each individual in our care as a sample of one, and we have seen this prescribing practice proven out as a responsible approach.