Pain management for primary care providers: A narrative review of high-impact studies, 2014-2016

William C. Becker, Matthew J. Bair, Michael Picchioni, Joanna L. Starrels, Joseph W. Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective. This manuscript reviews high-impact, peer-reviewed studies published from January 2014 to March 2016 that are relevant to pain management in primary care. Given the recent release of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain" emphasizing the primacy of nonopioid treatment, we focused our review on nonopioid pain management. Design. Narrative review of peer-reviewed literature. Methods. We searched three article summary services and queried expert contacts for high-impact, English-language studies related to the management of pain in adults in primary care. All authors reviewed 142 study titles to arrive at group consensus on article content domains. Within article domains, individual authors selected studies approved by the larger group according to their impact on primary care clinical practice, policy, and research, as well as quality of the study methods. Through iterative discussion, 12 articles were selected for detailed review, discussion, and presentation in this narrative review. Results. We present key articles addressing each of six domains of pain management: pharmacotherapy for acute pain; interventional treatments; medical cannabis; complementary and integrative medicine care management in chronic pain; and prevention. Within each section, we conclude with implications for pain management in primary care. Conclusions. There is growing evidence for multiple nonopioid treatment modalities available to clinicians for the management of pain in primary care. The dissemination and implementation of these studies, including innovative care management interventions, warrant additional study and support from clinicians, educators, and policy-makers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberpnx146
Pages (from-to)40-49
Number of pages10
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Complementary and Integrative Health
  • Interventional Pain Management
  • Pain Management
  • Primary Care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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