VCU Medical School Sponsoring Pain Symposium
The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine will host a symposium tomorrow bringing together experts in pain management.
The Symposium will be at the Richmond Marriott.
Hamza: We are holding the first Pain and Spine Disorder Management Symposium in the area in many years.
Dr. Maged Hamza is Director of VCU’s Pain Fellowship Program and the Interventional Pain Program.
Hamza: Pain is a major health problem for us as a nation; it's estimated that about a third of all Americans will suffer chronic pain in their lifetime. The annual cost of pain is about, between lost productivity and medical expenses for treatment of chronic pain, is about one hundred billion dollars a year.
The problems of chronic pain management, he said, will be approached from several angles.
Hamza: A learning opportunity for the physicians, the primary care physicians and the pain management experts and the spine specialists, so they learn what's new, what's coming, what's established standards of care to help them provide their patients with the best care possible.
The Symposium will also address the communication of treatment options.
Hamza: Estimated that by the time a patient in chronic pain gets some answers and resolution of their problem, they have seen about four to five doctors, and that reflects the paucity of pain education for medical students and for residents in specialities besides pain.
Medical Education in pain, Dr. Hamza believes, is often lacking.
Hamza: Six states in the union require licensed attending physicians to participate in five hours of pain education every year so they can come up to speed and we're trying to address that need as well.
Speakers at the Symposium are from across the country and all are well-known in the field. Registration had to be closed at 177.
Hamza: In a nutshell, it's a great educational opportunity to physicians in the area, non-physicians are invited because patients should and are more and more getting to be involved in their own care, and by them, by allowing them the opportunity to meet those professionals and asking them questions and learning what they are thinking and why, it will do nothing but to improve the management of these chronic, painful spinal disorder conditions.
Pain research has been extensive and great advances are being made in chronic pain management.
Hamza: Fifteen years ago, we did not know as much as we know about pain, its chronicity, its generators and how it can be addressed; we did not know as much as we know now of the mechanisms and how to address it on a mechanistic level, so that the field of pain research and education is growing; the issue that we are trying to address with the symposium is trying to get the practicing physicians, people seeing patients day in and day out and seeing too many patients, to be aware of those advances and know what people who specialize in this field can offer.
People who suffer from pain need up-to-date information too, Dr. Hamza believes, so on the 23rd at the Science Museum of Virginia, there’ll be a lecture open to the public.
Hamza: I honestly believe that educating and advancing the science and the art of pain, as well as improving the quality of chronic pain patients, has to be on two fronts: educating the physicians, sharing information and knowledge with them, but also educating the patients and letting them know what's available out there, so they don't settle for the 'two aspirins and call me in the morning.'
Dr. Hamza is an associate professor of Neurosurgery. To learn more about the public lecture and his work online, go to tamethepain.com.
John Ogle, WCVE News