STANFORD, CALIF. – Beth Darnall, PhD is on the front lines of the opioid epidemic. In her work as a pain psychologist at Stanford Health Care, Darnall works with chronic pain patients who are often looking for an off ramp from prescription painkillers. By teaching people to control the factors that amplify pain, Darnall offers these patients an effective alternative to heavy-duty medications.
Darnall’s latest book, “The Opioid-Free Pain Relief Kit: 10 Simple Steps to Ease Your Pain” is designed to give people practical tools to understand, manage, and reduce pain. Drawing from evidence-based psychology and Darnall’s research and clinical experience, the book equips patients with the needed tools to confront the daily choices, thoughts and emotions that can worsen pain.
“One in three Americans lives with ongoing pain, and many mistakenly believe that the best way to control pain is through powerful painkillers, also known as opioids,” Darnall said. “There is a better way. I wrote this book to provide people with an easy to implement roadmap for how they can reduce their own pain and suffering using simple skills. These skills dampen pain processing in the nervous system, and used regularly they help people need fewer medical visits and treatments. Few people are able to see a pain psychologist, so I wanted to give people a resource that would serve as their own pain psychologist in a book.”
Chronic pain is a debilitating disease which affects over 100 million Americans. It costs the United States in excess of half a trillion dollars each year and is the leading cause for why people are out of work. Stanford Health Care and Dr. Darnall are at the forefront of researching effective treatment options for patients managing chronic pain and helping them confront it in a safe and effective way. Meditation is one of the therapies that Dr. Darnall highlights in her new book, which includes a free meditation CD designed specifically to calm the nervous system, which she believes is a key to controlling and managing pain.
“Learning how to calm one’s own nervous system is a critical aspect of pain management,” Darnall said. “It’s vitally important to learn and use skills to control the cognitive, emotional, and physiological factors that amplify pain. Even if opioids are prescribed, they should be just one part of an overall, comprehensive pain care plan. This book gives patients the necessary tools to develop a customized plan that works for them in their daily life.”
Dr. Darnall will be presenting some of her recent research and therapies around pain management and her new book at Stanford Back Pain Education Day 2016. The event is taking place on Sunday, September 11 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time and will be livestreamed on YouTube.
About Beth Darnall
Beth Darnall, PhD, is Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Stanford Medicine. She has about 15 years of experience treating individuals with chronic pain of varied etiologies and medical complexity. She is Co-Chair of the Pain Psychology Task Force at the American Academy of Pain Medicine, and is a recipient of the Presidential Commendation from the American Academy of Pain Medicine (2015).