You’re Not Alone: Chronic Pain’s Widespread Impact in America
Chronic pain sufferers’ often feel like they are alone, but recent studies discussed below show that an increasing number of people are suffering from chronic pain each day.
Chronic pain is defined by the National Institute of Health as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks, whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury. Chronic pain persists often for months or even longer.
A Nationwide Issue
According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, recent market research report indicates that more than 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from chronic pain and that approximately 3- 4.5% of the global population suffers from neuropathic pain, with incidence rate increasing in complementary to age. Overall in America, chronic pain affects roughly 100 million people, although it’s difficult to measure the full scope of the problem. To put that number into perspective, coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes combined affect 61 million people. That means chronic pain is almost 40% more prevalent than all of those common conditions and illnesses combined. In addition, chronic pain costs the country $560–635 billion a year according to a new, conservative estimate developed as part of this study.
These staggering statistics prove that chronic pain is a problem that needs to be studied and addressed. In 2011, the Health and Medicine Division (HMD), composed a blueprint for relieving the pain problem in America, which deemed pain a national challenge that would take a full cultural transformation to understand, treat and prevent. HMD said that to address such a widespread problem, the public’s awareness of pain and its health consequences must be heightened, and both pain assessment and management must be improved.
The challenges to better pain management in the United States are diverse. Some result from inadequate scientific knowledge about diagnosis and treatment and may be resolved by new research. Many of the challenges, are related to inadequate training and lack of understanding of the need to address the multiple physical, mental, emotional, and social dimensions of pain. Disparities in care among population groups, along with payment and policy barriers reflect a failure to apply what is already known.
The HMD report stated “healthcare providers should increasingly aim at tailoring pain care to each person’s experience.” Pain can no longer be addressed similarly simply because it falls under the category of “pain.” Everyone’s experience with pain is unique just as every patient is unique and it should be addressed as such. There’s not a one solution fits all when it comes to pain management treatment.
Collaboration in Care
So far according to the HMD, the best course of action in cases where pain persists is for primary care physicians who handle most frontline pain care to collaborate with pain specialists. The committee behind the report found that even among health professionals, there “are major gaps in knowledge about pain.” Pain specialists, whose training includes a focus on pain physiology, diagnosis, management and treatment, understand the complex nature of pain and can help where other physicians may not be able. Pain specialists, like Dr. Dumitru are a clear part of the path to a more pain-free America.
Don’t let chronic pain steal another day! Call Dr. Adrian C. Dumitru, he’s a board certified and fellowship trained pain management specialist. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment please call (713) 461-8555 or visit www.houstonpainservices.com