Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

CHANGE PAIN® Initiative: Patients and Physicians Benefit From Multidisciplinary Approach in Chronic Pain Management

December 12, 2011

AACHEN, Germany, December 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –

Practical Guide Now Available on http://www.change-pain.com

Pain as a multi-dimensional condition requires the involvement of a multidisciplinary
team of healthcare professionals. The new practical guide “Towards a multidisciplinary
team approach in pain management” provides guidance for healthcare professionals on how to
set up a multidisciplinary team. 14 members of the international CHANGE PAIN(R) Advisory
Board have collaborated in writing the booklet which consists of 12 chapters and is
endorsed by the European Federation of IASP(R) Chapters (EFIC(R)).CHANGE PAIN(R) is a
pan-European initiative by the German pain expert Gruenenthal and aims to enhance the
understanding of the needs of patients with severe chronic pain and to develop solutions
to improve pain management.

The newly published guide on multidisciplinary pain management discusses benefits for
patients and physicians and provides practical insights on how to implement such an
approach. A multidisciplinary team involves a primary care physician and different
specialists like anesthesiologists, rheumatologists, neurologists, psychiatrists or
psychologists, who may also have an additional specialisation in pain management.

According to the IASP(R) (International Association for the Study of Pain)
guidelines[1], the team should include at least two physicians from two medical
specialties and a clinical psychologist if one of the physicians is not a psychiatrist.
The authors of the practical guide emphasise the key role of the primary care physician in
the team.

Communication between primary care physicians, specialists and patients

“A multidisciplinary approach to pain management offers benefits to patients,
healthcare providers and the society as a whole,” says Professor Joseph Pergolizzi,
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of
Medicine, USA, and editor-in-chief of the publication. “The success of this approach
depends on effective communication between patients, primary care physicians and

Equally important is an efficient communication between physicians and patients, as it
is the only way to assess the level of pain, taking into account patients’ expectations on
pain relief and quality of life improvement. The authors refer to the CHANGE PAIN(R) Scale
as a valuable tool to improve physician-patient communication. The Scale has been
translated and distributed in 13 countries worldwide and can help to set individual
treatment goals for chronic pain patients[2].

Guidance for physician-patient communication is also provided in the PAIN EDUCATION
programme developed by the CHANGE PAIN(R) Initiative. A clear assessment of the patient’s
individual situation enables the primary care physician to share the relevant information
with the specialists.

One important goal outlined in the guide is to improve the often inadequate transfer
of information between the primary care physician and the specialist. The primary care
physician needs a clear response from the pain specialist on the diagnosis and management.
In turn, the specialist expects the primary care physician to provide sufficient
information about the exact reason for referral and the patients’ pain history.

Referral pathways, pain programme models and pain networks

Clear referral pathways for primary care physicians are a pre-condition for a
successful multidisciplinary team approach. Today, no uniform referral guidelines are
available but several different pain programme models are described on the IASP(R)
website.[3] These include unidisciplinary pain practices, pain consultation teams,
multidisciplinary programmes and pain services. All of the models offer specialist
treatment approaches specifically tailored for the management of chronic pain. Continuing
medical education (CME) can improve healthcare professionals’ knowledge about chronic pain
as well as its underlying mechanisms and allows them to make better informed decisions. To
support this, a wide range of CME materials are available as part of the CHANGE PAIN

Several countries are also promoting the development of professional pain networks as
partnerships between primary care physicians and other healthcare professionals with
expertise in the management of chronic pain. The networks aim to provide community
physicians with support and training and improved access to specialists who can assist in
patient management.

Furthermore, the authors of the practical guide emphasise the role of the patients
themselves in optimising referral pathways. It is crucial that patients with chronic pain
are involved in the referral decision. Therefore the CHANGE PAIN(R) Initiative provides
the Pain Toolkit on the website: http://www.change-pain.com. It contains useful advice
and coping strategies in a clear and uncomplicated format which helps patients to play a
more active role in the management of their chronic pain.


CHANGE PAIN(R) aims to enhance the understanding of the needs of patients with severe
chronic pain and to develop solutions to improve chronic pain management. Initiated by the
German pain expert Gruenenthal and endorsed by the European Federation of the IASP(R)
Chapters (EFIC(R)), the initiative involves pain experts from across Europe. The
international Advisory Board is chaired by Professor Hans-Georg Kress, Chair of the
Department of Special Anesthesia and Pain Therapy, Medical University / AKH Vienna,
Austria and President of EFIC(R), and Dr Gerhard H. H. Mueller-Schwefe, MD, Head of Centre
for Interdisciplinary Pain Therapy & Palliative Care, Goeppingen, Germany and President of
the German Pain Association (DGS). Key objectives of CHANGE PAIN(R) are to generate a
better understanding of physicians’ and patients’ perspectives, publish the results of
research projects and communicate findings in scientific publications, as well as to
increase knowledge of pain physiology to facilitate individual treatment decisions. More
information: http://www.change-pain.com

About EFIC(R)

The European Federation of IASP(R) chapters (EFIC(R)) is a multidisciplinary
professional organisation in the field of pain science and medicine, made up of the most
important European pain societies. Established in 1993, EFIC(R) represents 35 countries
and close to 20,000 scientists, physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists and
other healthcare professionals across Europe, who study pain and treat patients in pain.
More information: http://www.efic.org

About the Gruenenthal Group

The Gruenenthal Group is an independent, family-owned international research based
pharmaceutical company headquartered in Aachen, Germany. Building on its unique position
in pain, its objective is to become the most patient-centric company and to be a leader in
therapy innovation. Altogether, the Gruenenthal Group has affiliates in 35 countries
worldwide. Gruenenthal products are sold in more than 100 countries and approx. 4,900
employees are working for the Gruenenthal Group globally. In 2010, Gruenenthal reached
revenues of about 910 Mio EUR.

More information: http://www.grunenthal.com


1. International Association for the Study of Pain 2011: Desirable characteristics for
pain treatment facilities. Available at:


2. Mueller-Schwefe G, et al.: Make a CHANGE: optimising communication and pain
management decisions. CMRO; Vol. 27, No. 2, 2011, 481-488

3. International Association for the Study of Pain 2011: Recommendations for pain
treatment services. Available at:


        Gruenenthal GmbH
        Frank Schonrock
        Phone: +49-241-569-1568
        Fax: +49-241-569-3539

        Current press materials are available in the press section at
        http://www.grunenthal.com and http://www.change-pain.com.

SOURCE Grnenthal GmbH

Source: PR Newswire