October 1, 2018
The opioid epidemic in the United States has caused the workers’ compensation industry to rethink pain management and how it responds to injured workers. Most experts will agree that long-term opioid use is not an effective pain management solution and does not substantially improve an injured worker’s function over time. In many cases, pain drives medical treatment and increases disability durations. Ultimately, the injured worker continues to suffer and often does not attain optimal quality of life or level of productivity.
Recognizing these challenges, workers’ compensation thought leaders are coming together to create solutions that put the injured worker’s interests and well-being at the forefront. They are looking at issues, such as how to get in front of pain, ways to improve the injured worker’s understanding of pain components, the importance of employee engagement, and alternative pain management treatments.
This white paper, Rethinking Pain Alternatives, provides an overview of fundamental pain management concepts and offers an inside look into pre-pain, acute pain, and chronic pain treatments currently being used. While there are no easy answers, there are common insights and proven practices that are beneficial in rethinking pain management and improving the injured worker’s experience.