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There are alternatives to opioids and drugs for pain management, if employers are willing to consider them. (Photo: Shutterstock)

One of the areas of focus on Out Front Ideas with Kimberly and Mark has been addressing chronic pain without opioids. The workers’ compensation industry’s approach to chronic pain historically has been trying drugs and other medical procedures first. Then, if the pain has not subsided or has worsened, we look for psychological factors. If we truly want to help injured workers in pain and prevent opioid abuse and other unnecessary measures, we need to reverse that protocol. To learn more, we spoke with two of the nation’s most highly respected pain management experts, Prof. Beth Darnell and Dr. Steve Stanos, who gave us great insights into the experience of pain, how it can be best treated, and non-pharmaceutical ways to treat pain.

Prof. Darnell is a clinical associate professor in the Division of Pain Medicine at Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.; a clinical pain psychologist at the Stanford Pain Management Center; an NIH-funded scientist doing research on psychological treatment for chronic pain; one of the co-chairs of the Pain Psychology Task Force at the American Academy of Pain Medicine; one of the co-authors of the 2017 Chronic Pain Guideline updates from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; and the author of multiple books on the subject.

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