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Emerg Med Australas. 2005 Feb;17(1):57-64.

Chronic pain syndromes in the emergency department: identifying guidelines for management.

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  • 1Emergency Department, Ipswich Emergency Department, Ipswich General Hospital, Chelmsford Ave, Ipswich, Queensland 4305, Australia.



To explore current literature on chronic pain syndromes and develop ED recommendations for the management and minimalization of chronic non-cancer pain.


A focused literature review.


Chronic pain is a common presentation to the ED but is poorly understood and managed. Research into the psychophysiology of chronic pain shows that there are definite changes in the receptive and processing pathways in patients suffering chronic pain syndromes. Evidence shows the effectiveness of early recognition with multimodal treatment, however high level evidence is lacking. All experts recommend balanced drug therapy, cognitive and behavioural interventions. Certain interventions are appropriate to the ED setting.


Emergency Medicine lacks a cohesive, informed strategy for management of chronic pain. The proposed guidelines represent the first step toward establishing consistency in the management of patients with chronic pain syndromes. Further work needs to be undertaken at a national level in developing evidence based guidelines.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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