July 22, 2003
Chronic pain focus of Gulf Coast conference
By Susan Christensen
Health and Research News Service
BILOX, Miss.I—“Tell me where it hurts” sounds like a simple request.
But for many who suffer from chronic pain, the easier question is: “Where doesn’t it hurt?” Their pain is so pervasive that it seems to batter every nook and cranny of their bodies.
The widespread effects of this chronic pain will be the topic of the fourth annual summer meeting of the Mississippi Pain Society, set for July 25-26 at Beau Rivage in Biloxi.
“We all see these people who present with symptoms in multiple areas and it’s very challenging to treat,” says physical therapist Joe Jacobson, director of outpatient services for Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson and president of the Mississippi Pain Society. “You’ll have patients come in with any number of diagnoses and they hurt everywhere.”
To better serve such patients, the trend in pain management has been to employ a team approach, Jacobson said. At Methodist Rehab, for example, patients are treated by a variety of health care professionals, including rehabilitation medicine physicians, anesthesiologists, psychologists and physical and occupational therapists.
“A lot of times it takes several different specialties to treat a person with chronic pain,” Jacobson said. “A person might see a rehabilitation medicine physician, who would drive the care. But they also might see a physical therapist for exercise and a psychologist to learn pain management techniques such as relaxation and biofeedback.”
That multi-disciplinary strategy will take center stage at the pain society meeting as a variety of health care professionals discuss the diagnosis and treatment of pain from a physical, behavioral, interventional and alternative medicine perspective. The presenters include an anesthesiologist, neurologist, psychologist, physical therapist and sleep specialist.
The program also will feature a discourse on cancer pain, which many believe is under-treated, said Jacobson. “A recent study found that an overwhelming number of cancer patients felt they were not receiving adequate treatment for their pain,” he said.
“We have the technology to treat cancer pain and improve a patient’s quality of life,” said psychologist Angela Koestler, past president of the Mississippi Pain Society and current president of the Southern Pain Society. “But with all the medication lawsuits, you have physicians who are very cautious about prescribing pain medications. One mission of the pain society is to increase awareness of such issues.”
The Mississippi Pain Society meeting is from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Friday, July 25, and 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi. Tuition, which includes the course materials, reception, dinner, breaks and luncheon, is $100 for Mississippi Pain Society members, $125 for non-members and $60 for students. Tuition for non-members includes membership in the Mississippi Pain Society through 2003.