Relatable Rheumatology: Exploring Chronic Pain in Rheumatic Disease


Today’s episode of Relatable Rheumatology: From Studies to Stories explores chronic pain in patients with rheumatic disease. Shilpa Venkatachalam, PhD, MPH, director of Research Operations and Ethical Oversight, Patient Centered Research at the Global Healthy Living Foundation, and her guests, Beth Darnall, PhD, and Tien Sydnor-Campbell, MS, discuss the latest understanding of chronic and how it can be managed using a multi-pronged approach, incorporating cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medicine, and mind-body modalities.

During the episode, Venkatachalam and her guests address misgivings about managing chronic pain, including the use of opioid treatment.

“What we really need is better research on this topic,” Darnall stated. “One of the problems is that we don't have good funding to conduct research to show who's benefiting from opioids, who's at risk, and for whom they don't work. And then [we can] identify those for whom appropriate use is truly therapeutic and helps [them] be more functional.”

Darnall is professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine where she directs the Stanford Pain Relief Innovations Lab. Her work involves developing and investigating novel pain treatments that are scalable, effective, and low burden. She leads multiple pain treatment trials that are active nationally.

Sydnor-Campbell is a medically-retired, body-centered psychotherapist and former bodyworker with 25+ years of clinical experience. She was diagnosed with autoimmune rheumatoid disease in 2010 and is a lifelong volunteer and advocate, as shown through her efforts to educate the public about the unique stigmas and difficulties that people of color face in healthcare (including physical, mental/emotional, and social) settings.

“Living with chronic pain poses challenges both physical and emotional, every day for some of us,” Venkatachalam explained. “There is too much information, often contradictory, and sometimes just engaging in a conversation can be difficult because of different opinions and experiences. That can make it tricky to decode what can be relied upon.”

The podcast is a co-production by the Global Healthy Living Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people living with chronic illnesses, and HCPLive.

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