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Think Out Loud

Managing Pain

Pete Springer/OPB

Debra Zurcher-James has been dealing with chronic pain for years. But last year she says it was so bad that when her doctor touched her back, she jumped off the table. She tried a lot of things and saw a lot of providers before landing in a pain management clinic. She says she never was one for pain medication, and the alternative therapies she found there, along with behavior modification techniques literally changed her life.

Debra’s chronic pain isn’t particularly unique. A recent report by the Institute of Medicine pointed out that about 116 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, with an overall annual cost of between $560 and $635 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity.

Pain medication is one way to deal with pain, but increasingly providers are encouraging their patients to manage their pain using other techniques — like meditation, massage and talk therapy. In fact, a new study on the effectiveness of massage to treat back pain was just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Do you have chronic pain? What have you tried? What works for you?

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