Outlook: Newsletter of the Society of Behavorial Medicine
Fall 2013 Return to Outlook Main page »

Pain SIG Update

Martin D. Cheatle, PhD, Pain SIG Chair

Pain SIG UpdateThe Pain Special Interest Group's mission is to advance the understanding of pain and its treatment according to a biopsychosocial framework.

Pain SIG goals include:

  • Increase interdisciplinary communication
  • Promote pain-related research
  • Provide an avenue for education and training for both researchers and clinicians
  • Mentor students and young professionals
  • Provide a forum for collaboration between interested individuals and group
34th Annual Meeting Highlights

During the 34th annual meeting of the Society for Behavioral Medicine members of the Pain SIG participated in a number of presentations, including a paper session on pain assessment, intervention and outcomes, and two symposiums; one on facilitating adherence in persistent pain: psychosocial mechanisms and research challenges, and also a joint symposium with the Integrated Primary Care SIG on pain management in primary care setting: utilizing technology to meet the challenges. There were also a number of excellent posters on pain. We also held our annual business meeting and student award presentations and were delighted with the presentation of best paper/poster by a student, "Pain and Eating in Overweight and Obese Individuals with Osteoarthritis: An Ecological Momentary Study," presented by Karmel Wong. Two honorable mention awards were also presented, one to Sheeva Mostoufi who presented her work, "Experimental Avoidance Mediates the Relationship between PTSD and Pain," and one to Todd R. Seech for his work, "Self-report Disability and Fear Avoidance Predict Healthcare Utilization Above and Beyond Objective Physical Disability".

35th Annual Meeting

Several symposium proposals have been submitted for the 2014 annual meeting. One is a joint session between the Pain SIG and the Military and Veterans Health SIG on suicide and pain in the military population. A second symposium was also submitted on pain and addiction from a biopsychosocial perspective. This year we will be electing a new chair as the current chair (Martin Cheatle, PhD) will be ending his tenure. In the coming months, members of the Pain SIG will be solicited to submit names for a new chair and/or co-chair.

Future of Pain and Behavioral Medicine

A 2011 Institute of Medicine Report, "Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education and Research," estimated that over 100 million people in the United States suffer from pain and that the annual cost of chronic pain in the United States is between $560-600 billion. This includes healthcare costs ($261-300 billion) and lost productivity ($297-336 billion). The IOM challenged all of us in the healthcare field to improve pain care and outlined guiding principles that included:

  • Effective pain management is a "moral imperative"
  • Pain should be considered disease with distinct pathology
  • There is a need for interdisciplinary treatment approaches

The most effective treatment of complex pain conditions is based on a biopsychosocial model of care. Members of the Society of Behavioral Medicine are in a unique position to respond to the challenge of this IOM report on pain by developing cutting edge research that will improve assessment and treatment of pain and, particularly, access to needed interventions. Pain is one of the main reasons that an individual seeks medical care and cuts across many of the disciplines of SBM including pain related to cancer or diabetic neuropathy, challenges of veterans with pain and various psychiatric and medical comorbidities, promoting physical activity in pain patients, spirituality and the pain experience, ethnic and minority disparity in the delivery of pain care, pain in the aging population etc.

I invite all SBM members interested in pain or pain research to contact me to discuss ways that they can be more involved in the Pain SIG.

Martin D. Cheatle, PhD, Chair Pain SIG