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An Echo Press Editorial: Research tool helps those with chronic pain

by the Echo Press Editorial Board

EP Echo Press Editorial
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Here’s promising news for those struggling with chronic pain.

Last week, the Minnesota Deparment of Health anounced a new map that will make it easier for Minnesotans experiencing chronic pain to find safe, opioid-free treatments, to help with healing, working, socializing and managing daily tasks.

The new online map – NOPAINMN.ORG – is a research tool for both health care providers and patients. Providers can find a menu of patient care options and can make referrals to practitioners of non-pharmacological and non-opioid pain management. Patients can locate providers, identify resources for self-management and discuss treatment options with their medical providers. Each listed service includes contact information, addresses and descriptions so anyone can explore treatment options and contact providers directly, according to the health department.

The listed treatments are scientifically-backed and found to be effective in reducing chronic pain. The health department said the goal is to provide a useful tool to both patients and providers alike in locating treatment methods that are safe, reliable, and effective for managing and healing pain.

Go to NOPAINMN.ORG to learn more about the mapping project. You can also search that site to find providers that are near you. A search for providers within a 10-mile radius of Alexandria showed dozens of locations specializing in a variety of services – chiropractic care, psychology, occupational therapy, massage therapy, physical therapy and more.

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Chronic pain can be debilitating and affects about 20% of U.S. adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control . Health experts note that an important goal of treatment for people experiencing chronic pain is to provide options to help improve quality of life and function.

The “NO PAIN MN” map features several services that have been demonstrated to reduce chronic pain and improve quality of life, including psychotherapy, acupuncture, yoga, massage therapy, chiropractic care, and physical therapy.

These alternative pain management options can provide treatment with no risk of substance misuse, while improving quality of life, according to the state health department.

“There are many ways to effectively manage pain that do not rely on opioids, but many people don’t know what those options are or how to access them,” Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm stated in a news release. “This statewide map is a great step to increase awareness about the safe and effective alternatives that are available in Minnesota.”

Directing people to alternative pain management strategies could address the reliance of opioids in Minnesota. Data released earlier this year shows overdose deaths in Minnesota involving opioids increased from 685 deaths in 2020 to 924 deaths in 2021, Malcolm noted.

The listed treatments are evidence-based and found to be effective in reducing chronic pain, according to Jennifer DeCubellis, CEO, Hennepin Healthcare. “This is a useful tool to both patients and providers looking for treatment methods that are safe, reliable, and effective for managing pain and healing patients. The team created an invaluable resource for the state,” DeCubellis.

The map, NOPAINMN.ORG, was designed by Hennepin Healthcare in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health. More information about this project and others is available in the Non-Narcotic Pain Management Demonstration Projects (PDF) report.

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