March 3, 2024

Subramanian Pens New York Times Article on Psychologists Helping with Chronic Pain

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Journalism Sushma Subramanian penned an article in The New York Times entitled, “How Psychologists Can Help Treat Chronic Pain.”

Over the past two decades, as the opioid crisis has shaken the public’s view of painkillers and pharmaceutical companies have come under fire for their marketing practices, many patients are looking for alternatives. One of the leading contenders has become treating pain with talk therapy.

Psychologists, therapists and social workers have quietly become a crucial part of pain treatment programs, proving to be as effective or more so than medication. In 2018, the medical journal The Lancet went so far as to recommend education and psychological treatment as first-line interventions for chronic low back pain, before pharmacological treatment.

A spokesman for the American Psychological Association said they have only recently started tracking pain psychology and in 2021 found that nearly 40 percent of its members report their patients frequently have chronic pain. The organization is currently drafting guidelines for chronic pain treatment, a sign, according to Lynn Bufka, a Maryland psychologist and a senior director at the A.P.A., that it’s an important and growing field with science-based solutions. Read more.