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Opioids & Pain

Opioids & Pain

Types of pain
Types of chronic pain include both cancer and non-cancer pain. Pain is the single most common reason for consultation with a general practitioner and is the most frequent symptom in hospital practice.1 

Pain is also an individual experience and can be measured in a number of ways.

In Europe, the main activities affected by pain are exercising, sleeping, lifting, walking, carrying out chores, having sexual relations and working outside the home.2

Pain management
Chronic pain management can be managed through opioid therapy. However, before initiating opioid therapy, it is important that all patients undergo a thorough physical, psychological and functional examination, to ensure the management regimen is appropriate.

It is important to maintain frequent interaction between the doctor, healthcare team and patient on an ongoing basis to effectively monitor the dosage, side effects and funtional outcomes.

Other drugs that are widely used to control pain include paracetamol and NSAID's.

Useful links

  •  - This Pain in Europe site seeks to provide access to information for both patients and healthcare professionals. It aims to offer everyone more understanding of pain and its management, and provide support to patients and their family.
  • International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) is a non-profit professional organisation dedicated to furthering research on pain and improving the care of patients with pain.
  • - To combat the inequality in the treatment of pain across Europe, national patients' representatives have combined to provide a strong voice for the chronic pain community. For Europeans living with chronic pain, their carers, healthcare professionals and politicians.
  • - OPEN Minds is a group of leading experts from across Europe specialising in the research and management of persistent pain. This website provides European physicians with educational materials based on established guidelines in pain management.
  • - The aim of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) is to promote palliative care in Europe and to act as a focus for all of those who work, or have an interest, in the field of palliative care at the scientific, clinical and social levels.
  • - European Federation of IASP Chapters (EFIC) is a multidisciplinary professional organization in the field of pain science and medicine, made up of the 29 European chapters of IASP.
  • - The Pain Relief Foundation is a UK charity which funds research into the causes and treatment of human chronic pain, and is concerned with the education of doctors and nurses in pain management.
  • - The British Pain Society is the largest multidisciplinary, professional organisation in the field of pain within the UK.

Source: EPG guide-

1. MIMS Handbook of pain management. London: Haymarket Medical Imprint; 2006.
Breivik H, Collett B, Ventafridda V, et al. Survey of chronic pain in Europe: prevalence, impact on daily life, and treatment. Eur J Pain 2006; 10:287-333.

Last Updated 18-08-2010