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Hear from the authors: How to treat chronic pain in your IBD patients

In our latest clinical practice update, experts provide guidance into the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of pain among patients with IBD.
Pain Management in IBD Banner Image
Pain Management in IBD Banner Image

Pain is a common symptom among patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Although pain typically occurs during episodes of active inflammation, it is also commonly experienced when intestinal inflammation is inactive. Many GIs grapple with how to approach pain symptoms when they occur in the absence of gut inflammation. Drs. Laurie Keefer, Jana Hashash, Eva Szigethy and Emeran Mayer provide expert commentary on how to manage pain in your IBD patients in our latest CPU published in Gastroenterology.

Dive into the conversation

Drs. Laurie Keefer and Emeran Mayer discuss what they want clinicians treating patients with IBD to know about how to address and manage pain symptoms.

Key takeaways

  • Patients at highest risk of transitioning from acute to chronic pain include those with a history of any type of chronic pain; prior early-life adversity or trauma, including discrimination experiences and poverty; poor coping styles, such as catastrophizing, pre-existing anxiety, and depression; or those who have had prior negative experiences with pain or recovery from flare.

  • Both pharmacologic as well as non-pharmacologic modalities can and should be utilized depending on the patient. Some non-pharmacologic management tools include: Exercise and physical activity, soft-tissue mobilization, acupuncture, relaxation training, mindfulness-based stress reduction, virtual reality, self-management skills training and brain-gut behavior therapies.

  • Pain acceptance and psychological flexibility are also associated with improved pain tolerance and inhibition at the level of the brain. An empathic, scientific and firm communication approach can set the stage for the provider to introduce a range of non-pharmacologic pain management solutions.

Read the full AGA Clinical Practice Update on Pain Management in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Commentary, published in the June issue of Gastroenterology.

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