The problem with undertreatment
Undertreating pain is a problem, as is overtreatment. Pain management allows a person to be functional. “They need to move to prevent lung complications, blood clots, and improve their general quality of life,” Paice says. “We don’t want people isolated in their homes because the pain is too bad to move.” This happens due to access to care, as well as for those afraid to use opioids.
Undertreatment can also affect survival. “Sometimes symptoms that are poorly controlled can lead patients to discontinue therapy,” Strand says. He tells patients that if their pain is preventing them from getting out of their chair, they’ll have a worse outcome than if they were functional individuals.
Deborah Abrams Kaplan covers medical and practice management topics.