U.S. Pain Foundation’s Cindy Steinberg, National Director of Policy and Advocacy, has been leading a small workgroup focused on efforts at the federal level to advance the recommendations in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force Report.

In August, the chairs and ranking members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Health Subcommittee, and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar acknowledging the pandemic public health crisis we face, but reminding the secretary that we cannot lose sight of the other ongoing public health crisis of substance use disorder (SUD) and overdose, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. These legislators asked the secretary for a briefing on the SUD crisis and recommendations on what more the federal government needs to do to address this crisis.

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In July, U.S. Pain Foundation announced the creation of the Disparities Solutions Advisory Council. The goal of the council is to improve health equity and inclusion for those within the chronic pain community. Each month, the council meets virtually with Nicole Hemmenway, CEO, to discuss their insights and opportunities for improvement.

We are pleased to introduce the 11 advisory council members.

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Our exploration of tools to help you reduce your pain and improve your overall health and well-being continues this month with our next “Building Your Toolbox” event on Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 pm ET. Please note the date change due to Election Day.

About Building Your Toolbox

Building Your Toolbox is unique in that it is held in a meeting format on Zoom, so participants can see, hear, and interact with the speaker and one another. At the end of a short presentation by the speaker, participants will have a chance to ask her questions directly. The conversation will be guided by Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW, Clinical Director of Pain Connection, and long-time support group leader, Bobbi Blades.

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Many of us have heard about spinal cord stimulation (SCS) for pain relief. But what does the process entail, how does it work, and what type of pain benefits the most from it?

Join us on Thursday, Oct. 29, at 1 pm ET for a Zoom webinar to find out about SCS with interventional pain management expert Shalini Shah, MD.

Dr. Shah will discuss:

    • What SCS is and how it works
    • Common diagnoses of patients who may benefit from SCS
    • SCS safety
    • How SCS has changed over the years
    • The SCS process – from choosing the right device to the trial

    Dr. Shah is Vice-Chair for the Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Care and Enterprise Director of Pain Services for University of California Irvine Health. She also is the current President-Elect for the California Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. You can learn more about her here.

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No pain, no gain

By: Michaela O’Connor

There’s a saying in the chronic pain community, “whoever said no pain, no gain never had chronic pain.” At first, I fully and whole-heartedly agreed with the quote. As a chronic pain patient, I could not see anything I had gained from the constant pain I lived with. I saw this quote again more recently and realized that it was no longer true, at least, not for me. I still understand the meaning of the quote and the endless desire to live without pain; however, I also understand how much I have gained over the past fourteen years, in spite of my pain.

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Generational pandemic losses

By: Ellen Lenox Smith

As we attempt to stay safe, we also are hoping to see the light at the end of this long tunnel with hopes of returning to some form of normalcy. My husband and I are in our 70s and have faced issues that the younger generation has not and vice versa. We are clearly all dealing with many similar issues – working to keep hands clean, wearing masks, social distancing, and losing activities and connections to people we have enjoyed in our lives. But let’s take a moment to understand just a few of the differences one is experiencing depending on their age.

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By: Brandy Garcia

At 16 years old I had no idea that I would be battling chronic pain for more than 10 years. At that point, my migraine headaches were just annoying and bothered me when I wanted to have fun. Little did I know I was in for a battle of a lifetime with my pain and mental health. I spent years fighting the idea of the disease rather than treating it. The stereotype of a sick person was stuck in my head and ruled my life for so long.

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On Sept. 24, the Alliance to Advance Comprehensive Integrative Pain Management (AACIPM) hosted a virtual symposium, “Equity in Access to Comprehensive Integrative Pain Management in Chronic Pain,” in partnership with the U.S. Pain Foundation. Throughout the day, patients, providers, policymakers, and payors shared information and ideas to help bridge the gap between quality pain care and underserved communities.

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Pain Awareness Month may have come to a close, but the need for improved care and increased understanding about pain continues.

“We are so appreciative of everyone who took part in our Pain Awareness Month #MyPainPlan campaign, whether joining an event, exploring MyPainPlan.org, securing a proclamation, taking part in the My Marathon fundraiser, or helping spread the word on social media,” says Nicole Hemmenway, CEO of U.S. Pain Foundation. “We are especially grateful to our sponsor, Sunbeam®, for their generous support of all our activities throughout the month.”

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Many patients use over-the-counter (OTC) treatment options, but it can be difficult to know which types may be right for your pain and how to use them so that they are both effective and safe.

On Oct. 15 at 1 pm ET, join Jeffrey Fudin, PharmD, for a discussion of the ins and outs of pain relievers available in your pharmacy aisle.

Dr. Fudin will explain:

  • different classes of medications,
  • how they work and differ from one another,
  • what may work best for certain types of pain,
  • the pros and cons of various delivery methods,
  • how to avoid side effects and interactions, and more.

He will also touch on common OTCs and natural products that may impact people with pain, including sleep aids, cold/flu medications, and combination products.

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