Overreaction? Newly proposed definition of pain could withhold opioids from those who need them most

| | September 17, 2019
headache
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A new definition of pain is out for comment from the International Association for the Study of Pain, an influential global alliance of researchers.

When I heard about it, my hair stood on end. Some people think a new definition could lead to new therapies. But as a 23-year veteran of serious pain from a progressive disorder, I dread losing the old therapy: opioids.

Here’s the old definition of pain that the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) laid out in 1994: An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.

It ain’t broke. Why fix it?

Here’s the proposed new definition: An aversive sensory and emotional experience typically caused by, or resembling that caused by, actual or potential tissue injury.

Related article:  Do men and women feel pain differently?

Look what the cat dragged in. Something only resembling damage might cause pain. Despite disclaimers in the notes attached to the new definition, here’s the slippery slope: Pain might result from a verifiable injury, or it might not. It might be an illusion, an inconvenient mental trick. If it’s all in your head, pain obviously won’t need a Percocet.

And there’s more — or in this case, less. Treatment, which was declared a must in the notes accompanying the old definition, goes unmentioned in the notes accompanying the new one.

Read full, original post: Who is really behind a proposed new definition of pain?

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