Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Meeting the Needs of Chronic Pain Patients
Meeting the needs of patients struggling with chronic pain while at the same time preventing the illegal or harmful use of opioids are two important challenges physicians face. This website on pain management for patients with chronic pain offers basic information about managing chronic pain-including opioid prescribing-with references to more detailed, authoritative materials. Please make use of the materials mentioned throughout this site.
If you decide to use some of the information from this site, make sure you understand and consider the following:
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is defined as persistent pain, which can be either continuous or recurrent and of sufficient duration and intensity to adversely affect a patient's well-being, level of function, and quality of life. Chronic pain is persistent, typically 3 months or more, and exists beyond an expected time for healing. The cause of pain may not be removable or otherwise treated. It may occur despite generally accepted medical treatment.
What Are Opioids?
Throughout the site, we refer to opioids, which are natural or synthetic derivatives of opium that act on the central nervous system to relieve pain. The term "opioid" is used to distinguish pain medications from illegal narcotics used to induce euphoria.