In the new world in which we find ourselves living — a world in which COVID-19 has caused more than 50,000 deaths and counting in the United States — many aspects of our lives have changed dramatically.
The virus has especially impacted health care, and it directly affects how we at Texas Mind Science in Richardson and Flower Mound, Texas, have been able to practice medicine. We care very much about each of our patients, and we miss seeing you in person.
Because patients with chronic pain can be more susceptible to COVID-19, we want to provide you with some information about how we are approaching care for those of you under active pain management protocols.
How Does COVID-19 Affect Patients With Chronic Pain?
Because of the complex relationship between chronic pain and the immune system, patients who experience such pain may be more susceptible to COVID-19 than others. Many of these patients are already immunocompromised because they are older and have chronic diseases as well.
Our goal as your doctors is to help you manage your pain throughout this crisis so that you don’t have to go to the emergency room, where your risk of infection would be greater. We want to keep you comfortable and safe so you don’t feel the need to visit the ER.
To this end, the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine has published guidelines to help manage the treatment of chronic pain during this outbreak, and we are following these guidelines for your benefit.
One of the most important guidelines calls for elective, in-person meetings and procedures to be suspended. We are making every effort to use telemedicine whenever possible to help manage your pain. We can still treat you in emergency situations, but other in-person interactions will have to wait until this crisis has passed.
COVID-19 and Opioids
If you are under long-term opioid therapy to manage your pain, you should be especially careful. Don’t stop taking your meds (you have them for a good reason), but be aware that the more you take, the more your respiratory system will be challenged, which in turn affects your ability to fight COVID-19, which attacks the respiratory system.
We will monitor each patient on opioids carefully during this time through telemedicine. Don’t make any changes to your dosage on your own — we will work with you as much as necessary. During this public health emergency, the Drug Enforcement Administration has waived the requirement for an in-person visit before a controlled substance can be prescribed, which means we can meet your needs without having to see you face-to-face.
COVID-19 and Steroids
If you are a chronic pain patient on steroids, you may have an altered immune response as well. Steroids have been shown to be associated with a higher risk of influenza, so where possible, we may reduce your dosage or change your medication if necessary.
If we determine that an in-person meeting or procedure is necessary for your condition, you will be screened for the possibility of COVID-19 before such treatment takes place. This is for the good of our team and our patients.
If you need a consultation regarding your condition, contact Texas Mind Science by calling either office or requesting an appointment with our online scheduling tool.
Once again, please know that our top priority is to provide the best care possible for our patients during these difficult days. Please contact us if you need any help, and we’ll work together to come out of this stronger than ever.