I have truly enjoyed the Educations Series sponsored by the Task Force this spring. We have really had some amazing guest speakers and I have learned so much. In June Dr Gary Walco, Director of Pain Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, came and spoke with us about pain treatment. Some highlights from this session include:
- In the past 10 years the number of hospitalizations, opioids dependency, abuse and overdose has more than doubled. WA State was one of the first to recognize and respond to this issue by releasing the Agency Medical Directors, Group Opioid Dosing Guidelines In 2007. These guidelines were just updated in 2015. To learn more: http://www.agencymeddirectors.wa.gov/Files/2015AMDGOpioidGuideline.pdf
- Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP) is a national organization with a mission to reduce opioid related morbidity and mortality by advocating for initiatives that promote cautious and responsible prescribing practices. Dr. Walco expressed concerns that new initiatives might significantly impact the way current patients access pain treatment. The Sickle Cell Community should be aware of the various initiatives in order to effectively advocate for those who live with acute and chronic pain. For more info: http://www.supportprop.org
- Scientists have discovered new findings that will hopefully result in new treatments to address chronic pain. According to Dr. Walco we will see new studies on the market in the next 5-10 years. For more info: Google- Glial cells and chronic pain.
- Studies show that the brain changes when you have experienced pain over long periods of time (acute or chronic pain). The central nervous system becomes more sensitive to pain. That means people for example with Sickle Disease, are more sensitive to pain than those living without chronic pain conditions.
- Cognitive Behavioral treatment/ therapy can help those who have become highly sensitive to pain. Clinical Hypnotherapy can be an effective technique to help you or your child. This form of hypnosis is nothing like what you might have seen in the entertainment context. Dr. Walco offers Hypnosis Treatment at Seattle Children’s. For more info visit http://www.seattlechildrens.org/medical-staff/Gary-A-Walco/ or google: Clinical Hypnotherapy.
- Marijuana/ cannabis has not been studied enough for us to know how it might be helpful for Sickle Cell pain.
Recommendations from Dr Walco
With regard to hypnosis, it is a tool embedded in comprehensive clinical approaches to pain. The best way for people to learn it is to make an appointment to be seen in the pain medicine program.
For readings, I would recommend a chapter by Liossi, Kuttner, Wood, and Zeltzer in the Oxford Textbook of Paediatric Pain. There is also a great book on cognitive-behavioral interventions for recurrent and chronic pain in children and adolescents by my colleague, Tonya Palermo.
By: Foxy Davison