UA offers new pain management online course

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Managing chronic pain without the use of pharmaceuticals is the focus of a new online course created at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.

Dr. Victoria Maizes, the executive director of the center, says we are in the middle of an opioid epidemic across the country and here in Arizona. She says the class will help medical professionals address ways to manage chronic pain with integrative therapies.

MORE: Arizona governor signs law he sought to target opioid abuse

"Opioids can be very effective, but we know that they also have a significant downside and that's addiction, overdose and in the worst-case death," Maizes said. "So we need to train healthcare providers to have a much larger tool box to be able to use strategies besides prescription medicines to manage the vast majority of people who come in with pain."

The 11-hour class includes out of the box options for people who suffer from issues like migraines or low-back pain, Dr. Maizes said. That can include nutrition strategies, manual medicine like massage or acupuncture. 

"Sometimes someone is completely unwilling to exercise or to change their diet, but they're more willing to try something like acupuncture or hypnosis," Dr. Maizes said. "They are curious, it's something they've never tried before. And patients actually are also worried about getting addicted to opioids so they are eager to try something else."

This is the first time this type of course is being offered as a standalone class at the UA, and it's available for medical professionals in practice and in training.

Dr. Maizes says the coursework was completed in December and there is already a lot of interest from the medical community.

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