Doctors set protocol for pain management

Pain management specialists have formed India’s first ever protocols for lower back pain management


Sonal Matharu | October 20, 2010

Doctors specialising in pain management released here on Tuesday country’s first ever protocol on lower back pain and how it can be effectively cured by medical practitioners besides treating other diseases.

In the absence of any guidelines on how to measure or manage pain, this protocol will help doctors in better assessing patient’s suffering and in providing the best possible treatment available.

Senior consultant in pain management at Indraprastha Apollo hospital Dr K J Choudhary, who played an important role in compiling these guidelines, said, “Pain has a purpose in a body. It tells you that something is wrong. Once the problem is diagnosed, it has no role to play and it must be cured. If acute pain is not treated well on time, it may lead to chronic pain which may lead to severe disabilities.”

Pain has been classified into two categories – acute pain which usually occurs due to childbirth, trauma and surgery and chronic pain which last more than six weeks. Unfortunately, this field of medicine goes unnoticed as there is no specialized teaching on pain management at the undergraduate or postgraduate medical teaching nor is there any training module for doctors on pain management.

“People are not aware that treatment is available for specialised pain management. Pain management is not part of any medical curriculum in India,” said Dr P N Jain, president, Indian Society for the Study of Pain (ISSP), an association of pain management experts, scientists and health workers.

He added that their association has urged the health ministry to consider the proposal of counting pain management as the fifth vital sign. The four being temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate. The experts have also written to the chairman of Medical Council of India to include at least five lectures on pain management in medical education curriculum.

The doctors added that strict narcotics laws in India make effective pain killers like morphine unavailable to patients. 

“Global consumption of morphine is 5.93 mg per capita. However, despite abundant opium availability in India, our consumption is only 0.6 mg per capita according to International Narcotics Control Bureau report, 2007,” said Jain.

However, he added that India has the advantage of having traditional systems of medicine as well. When combined with allopathic drugs, ayurvedic drugs can be very effective in pain management.

A website ( which will give information on all kinds of pains and how they can be managed best was also launched at the event.

The event was organised by ISSP and Brufen Foundation, a group of pain management experts.



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