Pain Management Contracts
By signing a pain management contract, you have a written agreement with your healthcare provider that sets ground rules for how the two of you will work together to treat your chronic pain. These contracts are not legally binding, but they do help ensure your safety by preventing overuse or misuse of medication.
What Are Pain Contracts?
Chronic pain is pain that lasts for several months to years, and sometimes for a lifetime. There are many causes, including:
- Back or other injuries
- Degenerative joint disease, such as arthritis, cancer, or constant or recurring headaches
- Other causes.
Managing chronic pain can be difficult and complicated. It is sometimes treated with opioids, which are morphine-like substances that work to decrease pain. Opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, hydromorphone, and others.
Opioids are strong pain relievers that are often necessary for pain control. They are controlled substances, meaning that there are special rules regarding how they are prescribed and filled at the pharmacy. These rules were implemented because these medications are powerful, can have serious side effects, and are prone to misuse. For example, a drug can be misused when someone takes more than they need, gives away, or sells their pain medication.
Because healthcare providers want to ensure the optimal and appropriate treatment for their patients with chronic pain, sometimes a pain medication contract is used. This may also be called a "partnership contract," "pain contract," "treatment agreement," or "opioid contract." This is a written agreement between the healthcare provider and the person being treated for pain.
Though this contract is not legally binding, it provides information and sets ground rules for how the healthcare provider and individual seeking pain treatment will work together to manage the chronic pain.