Evolution of Medicine is thrilled to announce our 70th episode of the Functional Forum. Continuing our theme of care at the cross section of functional medicine and community models, we look toward an issue that is front and center of discussion, in light of the current opioid epidemic: chronic pain.
In this month’s Forum, we will hear a range of voices from across medicine to showcase a new vision for understanding and treating chronic pain, through the lens of chronic pain as a biopsychosocial model. Like many other chronic illnesses, chronic pain has some biological roots (genetic factors, physical addiction) some social factors (community, social isolation), and psychological factors (lifestyle factors, emotional coping, community), and treating it with a purely biochemical approach is doomed to fail.
While official guidelines are coming around to support integrative approaches to pain, the delivery of that care is often neither efficient nor affordable enough to scale inside healthcare systems. It is becoming clear that by combining a functional medicine, root-cause approach, integrative therapies for pain, and community-delivered care, like group visits, we can create an affordable solution.
Our first speaker is Maria Chao, DPH, who is a leading voice in our shift toward group-delivered care in the public health arena. She was an editor on the first-ever journal on group-delivered services. She describes why we must frame chronic pain as a biopsychosocial issue and how groups can help solve this epidemic.
Next, we speak with Lauren Castle, PharmD, a pharmacist who founded the Functional Medicine Pharmacists Alliance to bring together pharmacists who want to be part of functional medicine-oriented teams that help get people off medications.
We will also hear from Cheng Ruan, MD on his efforts to reverse chronic pain with a functional medicine model on insurance and we also will go deep into integrative solutions for shoulder pain with Sean Hesler, ND and Sarah Preston Helser, ND, two naturopathic doctors using “hands, herbs, food and needles” to reverse chronic pain.