Many Americans are being undertreated for chronic pain associated with medical problems due to physicians’ fear of prescription drug overuse, personal bias or inadequate training, according to a pharmaceutical expert at the University of Oregon.
"We have more sophisticated pain management techniques available now than ever before," said Kathryn Hahn, a pharmacist and chair of the Oregon Pain Management Commission.
"But many doctors are not fully informed about all the options available, and also often turn patients away because they’re very concerned about the problems with prescription drug abuse," she added.
Hahn also feels that physicians are under-qualified to treat such problems due to a lack of specific training during medical school concerning pain management techniques.
"Surveys show that at least 30 percent of patients with moderate chronic pain and more than 50 percent of those with severe chronic pain fail to achieve adequate pain relief," said Hahn.
Meanwhile, there are a range of options outside of prescription drugs that can help treat chronic pain. Such remedies include acupuncture, meditation, chiropractic care, exercise and occupational therapy.