COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND CHRONIC PAIN MANAGEMENT: IMPACT AND SUGGESTIONS
Chronic pain is a treatable condition all over the world and causes suffering, limited daily activities and reduced life quality. Pain is at the top, people need medical care, and chronic pain conditions rank 3rd of the top four leading causes of years lost to disability including back pain, general musculoskeletal disorders and neck pain. COVID-19 infection is an ongoing pandemic that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, resulting in systemic complications and death. The virus is transmitted either through airborne droplets by coughing, sneezing or even respiration or less commonly through direct contact with a surface. The current COVID-19 pandemic has haggard medical resources, creating a dilemma for doctors having a responsibility to limit spread of the infection, and their responsibility to treat the patients who need an urgent care and life saving therapeutic interventions. Pain treatment clinics and centers have closed their doors all over the world. Elective, routine, and non-emergency chronic pain management procedures/services have been stopped in secondary and tertiary centers. The chronic pain patient’s care has been significantly at risk. Many of these patients have intricate needs and require interventions urgently to avoid potentially life-threatening complications. These patients have higher chances of anxiety, depression, catastrophising, and suicidal attempts. It is imperative these issues are addressed during a pandemic and this is best achieved by using a biopsychicsocial model of pain management. Important considerations that need to be recognized during this pandemic for chronic pain patients include ensuring continuity of care.