Skip to main content

Pain Management Best Practices during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Public Health Crises

Release Date: April 15, 2020
Valid Through: December 31, 2022 
Format: Didactic, Q&A (75 minutes)
Target Audience: This activity was developed to meet the needs of clinicians treating patients in pain while navigating the COVID-19 healthcare crisis.


The pandemic of COVID-19 infections is causing substantial disruptions to daily life around the world and pain practitioners across the globe are affected by these disruptions while care for their patients with chronic pain.
Pain is inherently subjective, and there is enormous variation in how patients react to pain and how it is treated, even between physicians who practice the same subspecialty. Patients with the same pathology can respond dramatically differently to treatment and react in very different ways to having anticipated treatment withheld including becoming socially withdrawn, functionally disabled, and suicidal. Large variations in practices can have long-standing consequences, such that practices that strictly interpret local recommendations to limit non-essential care to prevent disease spread can lose patients to less scrupulous practices that ignore regional ordinances intended to safeguard the community. For these reasons, there is a strong need for national guidance on pain management practices during epidemics.

In partnership with the journal Pain Medicine, this session will discuss new guidelines on interventional pain management in the wake of the COVID-19 healthcare crisis.

Learning Objectives:
1. Review general and specific risk mitigation procedures related to pain medicine and COVID-19.
2. Discuss mechanisms for triaging pain procedures in the current healthcare environment.
3. Discuss mental health considerations and steps providers can take to protect their own health.

Continuing Education:
The American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) provides a live webinar titled “Pain Management Best Practices during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Public Health Crises” and offers continuing medical education (CME) for physicians. Successful completion requires that participants view the live webinar presentation in full and complete an online evaluation. Participants receive their CME certificates after they submit their evaluations online.

The American Academy of Pain Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation:
The American Academy of Pain Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Instructions for Participants:
1) This activity will consist of a didactic presentation accompanied by Q&A; there is no fee to participate.
2) View the entire previously recorded presentation (live event was held 4/13/2020.)
3) An evaluation must be completed prior to receipt of your certificate. After completing the activity evaluation, a statement of credit can be generated and printed on your own at your convenience.
4) For additional assistance, please contact the American Academy of Pain Medicine, 8735 W. Higgins Road, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60631, 847-375-4731.

Faculty/Planner Disclosures & Policy:
It is the policy of AAPM to plan and implement educational activities in accordance with the ACCME to ensure balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor. As an ACCME-accredited provider, AAPM may receive commercial support from industry but does not receive guidance, either nuanced or direct, on the content of the activity or on who should deliver the content. All program faculty and planners are required to disclose all financial relationships they may have or have had within the last 12 months with commercial interests whose products or services are related to the subject matter of the presentation. Any real or apparent conflicts of interest must be resolved prior to the presentation. Faculty are expected to disclose this information to the audience both verbally and in print (slideshows) at the beginning of each presentation.

During this unprecedented public health emergency and because there are no current preventive or specific treatments for COVID-19, AAPM reasonably determines that there is no potential for relevant financial relationships and therefore no need to resolve or disclose conflicts.


Steven P. Cohen, MD
Session Director; Planner/Presenter
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

Emily Hill, PA
Hill & Associates
Wilmington, NC

W. Michael Hooten, MD
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN

CDR C. Ryan Phillips, MD
Naval Medical Center San Diego
San Diego, CA

Friedhelm Sandbrink, MD
Washington VA Medical Center
Washington, DC

Milan Stojanovic, MD
Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, Bedford, MA
VA Boston Healthcare System
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Ajay D. Wasan, MD MSc
AAPM President 
Session Moderator; Planner/Presenter
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Pittsburgh, PA

Jennifer Westlund, MSW
American Academy of Pain Medicine 
Chicago, IL 

Expert Educational Design:
This educational activity was planned and facilitated by leaders from the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) working in conjunction with several other professional organizations and federal agencies, including the American Society of Anesthesiologists, American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, North American Neuromodulation Society, Spine Intervention Society, and the World Institute of Pain, as well as the United States Department of Defense and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. AAPM is the leading medical association representing physicians committed to advancing the emerging science and practice of pain medicine. This activity is designed to improve access to quality, evidenced- based multidisciplinary pain care across the healthcare continuum.

To view the AAPM Privacy Policy, visit:

For Technical Support:
(888) 705-6002
+1 (858) 201-4136*
8am - 8pm ET**
*for callers residing outside of the United States
**excludes holidays and weekends

Pain Management Best Practices from Multispecialty Organizations during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Public Health Crises: Additional Resources

  • Read the practice guidelines published in Pain Medicine to assist pain medicine providers, health care leaders, and regulatory bodies as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • In this additional video, Dr. Steven P. Cohen of Johns Hopkins and Dr. Friedhelm Sandbrink of the Veterans Health Administration discuss new COVID-19 guidelines for pain management with Johns Hopkins' Dr. Shravani Durbhakula.