PAIN: America’s “Silent Epidemic”


Is there more than one type of pain? YES!

Here’s quick summary the three most common types of pain:

Acute pain is usually the result of illness or injury; typically it has a beginning and end, and can be relieved with medication and other medical treatments.  Acute pain is usually triggered by tissue damage such as a skin burn, broken bone, muscle pain, or may accompany an illness, an injury, or surgery.


Chronic pain is a complex condition and often there is no cure.  It can affect individuals throughout their lives, as chronic pain can frequently come and go.  Research has shown that a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach to care helps to improve people’s quality of life. Chronic pain can be stressful to both the individual and their relationships and is the source of escalating rates of disability in the United States.

Cancer pain usually arises from the presence of cancer, but can also be caused by treatments used to treat and tests used to diagnose the disease. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy may also produce painful conditions that persist long after treatment has ended. Cancer pain presents itself in the form of headaches, muscle strains, and other aches and pains.

How does Intermountain Pain Management Service approach this “silent epidemic?”

“We partner with our patients to determine which pain management strategy will be most effective according to best practice,” says Bridget Shears, Intermountain’s Pain Management Program Manager.   “This means that it’s vital to communicate with our patients so they’re an active member of the treatment team. We can listen to and learn from them about how to manage persistent pain — many times this can be at home with non-pharmaceutical practices such as deep breathing, meditation and music. This allows us to incorporate these practices into their care, which leads to better team collaboration and positive pain outcomes.”

Innovation in pain management:  New Chronic Pain Research Pilot

Pain Management Clinical Services and Primary Care physicians at the Intermountain Layton Clinic are now working together to improve the care and coordination of chronic pain patients.  The purpose of the pilot is to facilitate the care and interdisciplinary coordination through the use of Intermountain Healthcare’s Chronic Pain Care Process Model and a 10 week series of educational classes.  All chronic pain patients at Layton Clinic will be invited to participate at no additional charge.