Karen Seal, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, UCSF
Director, Integrated Pain Team Clinic, SFVAHCS
Chronic pain is one of the most prevalent problems among Veterans – 50 percent of men and 75 percent of women Veterans suffer from chronic pain. The Integrated Pain Team clinic at the San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVAHCS), directed by Dr. Karen Seal, is changing how pain is treated. Primary care physicians, psychologists, pharmacists, and physical therapists work together to guide care for Veterans with chronic pain. They emphasize exercise, behavioral interventions and decreased reliance on pain medications, especially opioids, which are addictive and even deadly in some cases. Most importantly, the team develops a personalized holistic Pain Care Plan that aligns with the Veteran’s personal values and goals. The team even utilizes video telehealth technology to reach Veterans in rural Northern California areas.
"The treatment of chronic pain demands that we bring the mind and the body together," said Seal. "I'm excited about the work being done here and how we're moving the field forward and evolving the paradigm for how we treat our Veterans with chronic pain."
This clinic is typical of the innovation and great strides that researchers supported by NCIRE at SFVAMC have made to help Veterans lead healthy and normal lives.