Snipped from a newspaper in Attleboro, MA. What's wrong with this picture? http://www.thesunchronicle.com/articles/2011/08/16/news/10019231.txt News A painful battle BY RICK FOSTER SUN CHRONICLE STAFFTuesday, August 16, 2011 2:11 AM EDT Norwood Hospital Pain Management Center patient Jayne Siteman, said of her doctor, Christopher Hummel, "He hasn't given up on me." With aging population, pain centers growing at area hospitals NORWOOD - For Jayne Siteman, the battle against pain has been a 13-year litany of aching ribs, swollen feet, headaches and exhaustion relieved only occasionally by prescription medication and injections. For the last two years, however, Siteman, 55, has been receiving specialized pain care at Norwood Hospital's Pain Management Center and understanding from pain specialist Dr. Christopher Hummel. "He hasn't given up on me," said Siteman, who suffers from fibromyalgia. "I don't know what I would do if I wasn't referred here." As the population ages more and more Americans like Siteman are encountering chronic pain either as the result of injuries or diseases like cancer or from non-specific or difficult-to-identify causes. In response, many hospitals such as Norwood and Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro have created dedicated pain centers that concentrate on chronic pain as a medical discipline. Siteman, a former building specialist with the Foxboro School Department, had to stop working eight years ago because of crippling pain. Gardening and yard work, two of her loves, fell by the wayside. Yet her treatments and monthly visits with Hummel give her hope for the future. Jayne Siteman had to give up her job in the Foxboro School Department due to chronic pain from fibromyalgia. (Staff photo by Mike George) "I have my better days," she says, "and days when I don't get out of bed. You have to have hope." Siteman and her doctor have tried a number of approaches, including pharmaceuticals, pain-blocking injections and even a spinal cord stimulator, with varying degrees of success. Hummel says his goal for most pain patients is to restore them as much as possible to optimum functioning. "I don't believe we completely eliminate pain," he said. A major difficulty in treating patients who suffer from chronic pain and pain from unexplained sources is that therapies that show results for a while often stop working. "Sometimes it seems to wear off," Hummel said. "So we have to look for some other approach." Pain, whether from an accident, disease or aging joints or unknown causes is widespread phenomenon that amounts to a major expense on the nation's health care tab according to a recent report by the Institute of Medicine. Each year, at least 116 million adult Americans experience chronic pain that equates to between $560 billion and $635 billion in costs annually, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. Much of the pain is preventable or could be better managed, added the committee that wrote the report. The committee called for coordinated, national efforts of public and private organizations to create a cultural transformation in how the nation understands and approaches pain management and prevention. According to the report, pain is experienced uniquely by individuals and that treatment often requires a combination of therapies and techniques. The report also concluded that pain is more than a physical symptom and is not always resolved by curing the underlying condition. In some cases persistent pain can cause changes in the nervous system and become a distinct chronic disease. People's pain experience can also be influenced by genes, cultural attitudes toward hardships, stress, depression, ability to understand health information, and other behavioral, cultural, and emotional factors, the IOM study said. Successful treatment, management, and prevention of pain requires an integrated, approach that responds to all the factors that influence pain, it concluded. However, health care insurers do not treat pain care uniformly leaving some care un-covered. The report calls on Medicare, Medicaid, workers' compensation programs, and private health plans to find ways to cover interdisciplinary pain care. The report also concluded that pain warrants a higher level of attention and resources within the National Institutes of Health. The report recommends that NIH designate a lead institute to move pain research forward and increase the scope and resources of its existing Pain Consortium. The IOM study also said not all health care organizations are set up to deliver integrated pain care. Norwood, which has had a pain care specialty for several years, recently moved pain management into a new center within the hospital staffed by a team of doctors and specialists. "Pain management, up until recently, had not been considered a specialty unto itself," said Dr. Allison Gorski, medical director of the center. "But it is and we're way ahead of the curve in that regard." The center coordinates the coordinated efforts of pain doctors, a pschiatrist and nurse practitiouners and social workers to create personal treatment plans for patients using medical, psychological and lifestyle practices.