Ann Quinlan-Colwell, PhD, APN
For most of us, this past year has been tumultuous to say the least. In at least some way, we have all been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, protests and the underlying circumstances that initiated them. We are very fortunate that Dr. Ben Johnson wrote a thoughtful and insightful article in this issue regarding diversity in health care and with pain management in particular. Every day, I learn about yet another way the pandemic has affected people and health care. Many of our colleagues are reporting “Post COVID Stress Disorder” (PCSD). Health care providers are struggling to maintain practices using virtual telehealth where possible. Some have had to curtail performing “non-essential” analgesic procedures due to required personal protective equipment not being available. Advanced practice nurses have been re-assigned from pain management to work in critically low staffing areas caring for patients acutely ill with COVID-19. Still others have effectively been told that pain management is “not an essential service and in the interest of being financially responsible we are eliminating your position.”
Clearly, we are yet to witness the immense impact of chronic illness experienced by the COVID survivors who are being referred to as “the long haulers.” This population will be particularly challenging since many of them have underlying co-morbidities or risk factors that are painful or increase the risk of experiencing pain. Many who have suffered pulmonary damage and complications will be at increase risk for medication related respiratory depression. Since many people who have had COVID-19 reported neurological symptoms, we can hypothesize that neuropathic pain may be a long term consequence. We are beginning to see literature discussing managing chronic pain during the pandemic (Cohen, et al, 2020; Eccleston, et al, 2020; El-Tallawy, et al, 2020; Manchikanti, Kosanovic, & Vanaparthy, 2020; Morgan & Dattani, 2020; Pradère, et al, 2020; Puntillo, et al, 2020; Soin & Manchikanti, 2020; Song, et al, 2020; Shanthanna, et al, 2020).
It is most certainly a time to amass resources to adjust our perspectives and our usual ways of functioning. The more proactive we can be, the more internal resources we will have to best support people living with pain who are most certainly struggling. Functioning from a scientific perspective, garnering the evidence and supportive literature is basic (see reference list). During this time with a certain degree of social and even professional isolation, it is also important to remain connected with other professionals. The Southern Pain Society provides an excellent platform for doing so. In addition to this newsletter, on November 13th and 14th we are scheduled to share amazing information during part one of our first ever Southern Pain Society Virtual Meeting. The timely title of the meeting is: “Perspectives, Concerns and Options for Managing Pain” with presentations by a variety of internationally known faculty including Drs. Rollin Gallagher, George Singletary, Perry Fine, Jay Kaplan, Esther Bernhofer, and Misha Backonja. We certainly hope to connect with you virtually to learn from these pain management professionals.
In addition, we have a special group of professionals serving on the SPS board of directors who work throughout the year to support information and education about pain management. With annual regularity, the board composition is preparing to change. As they step down from their board positions, we extend great appreciation to past president Mordi Potash, MD and director Joe Tramontana, PhD for their years of dedicated service. During the next year, Dr. Harry Gould, III will assume the role of SPS president as I transition to past president and our long time treasurer Dr. Thomas Davis will become president elect. We are thrilled that Drs. David Gavel and James McAbee will continue as directors and Dr. Randy Roig will continue as treasurer while Dr. James Weisberg will assume the role of secretary. We are most pleased to welcome Drs. Michele Simoneaux and Eric Royster as new board members. Without a doubt, this SPS board will work cohesively to continue to advance research and treatment of pain while increasing the knowledge and skill of all those in our professional community as we hopefully experience the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and move forward. During this transition period, I encourage all to do everything possible to be safe and remain well.
Cohen, S. P., Baber, Z. B., Buvanendran, A., McLean, L. T. C., Chen, Y., Hooten, W. M., … & King, L. T. C. (2020). Pain management best practices from multispecialty organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic and public health crises. Pain Medicine.
Dylan, B., & Sears, J. (1964). The times they are a-changin’ (Vol. 8905). Columbia.
Eccleston, C., Blyth, F. M., Dear, B. F., Fisher, E. A., Keefe, F. J., Lynch, M. E., … & de C Williams, A. C. (2020). Managing patients with chronic pain during the COVID-19 outbreak: considerations for the rapid introduction of remotely supported (eHealth) pain management services. Pain, 161(5), 889.
El-Tallawy, S. N., Nalamasu, R., Pergolizzi, J. V., & Gharibo, C. (2020). Pain Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Pain and therapy, 1-14.
Fauci, A. S., Lane, H. C., & Redfield, R. R. (2020). Covid-19—navigating the uncharted.
Gates, B. (2020). Responding to Covid-19—a once-in-a-century pandemic?. New England Journal of Medicine, 382(18), 1677-1679.
Manchikanti, L., Kosanovic, R., , & Vanaparthy, R., (2020). Steroid distancing in interventional pain management during COVID-19 and beyond: Safe, effective and practical approach. Pain Physician, 23, S319-S350.
Morgan, C., & Dattani, R. (2020). Should I use steroid injections to treat shoulder pain during the COVID-19 pandemic?. JSES international.
Pradère, B., Ploussard, G., Catto, J. W., Rouprêt, M., & Misrai, V. (2020). The Use of Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs in Urological Practice in the COVID-19 Era: Is “Safe Better than Sorry”?. European Urology.
Puntillo, F., Giglio, M., Brienza, N., Viswanath, O., Urits, I., Kaye, A. D., … & Varrassi, G. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on chronic pain management: Looking for the best way to deliver care. Best Practice & Research Clinical Anaesthesiology.
Soin, A. & Manchikanti, L. (2020). The effect of COVID-19 on interventional pain management practices: A physician burnout survey. Pain Physician, 23, S271-S282.
Song, X. J., Xiong, D. L., Wang, Z. Y., Yang, D., Zhou, L., & Li, R. C. (2020). Pain management during the COVID-19 pandemic in China: Lessons learned. Pain Medicine, 21(7), 1319-1323.
Shanthanna, H., Strand, N. H., Provenzano, D. A., Lobo, C. A., Eldabe, S., Bhatia, A., … & Narouze, S. (2020). Caring for patients with pain during the COVID‐19 pandemic: consensus recommendations from an international expert panel. Anaesthesia.