Research tells us that 50 million Americans live with chronic pain, or pain that lasts most days or day by day for 3 months or more. Of this group, 20 million experience high-impact chronic pain, or pain that interferes with basic functioning and activities of each day living. Pain is the primary reason that Americans access the health care system, and costs the nation as much as $635 billion annually in medical treatments, disability payments, and lost productivity.
Yet despite these staggering numbers, chronic pain is vastly under-recognized, underfunded, and under-treated when considering its significant impact on American lives. Research, treatment options, and support for those affected individuals still lag behind other major diseases.
As we kick off the month, let’s address among the most pressing issues around chronic pain in America—the each day struggles of living with chronic pain and its harrowing impact—and supply an area for those afflicted to share their stories.
A chronic pain crisis
Between March 29 to April 12, 2022, the U.S. Pain Foundation conducted a survey of two,378 individuals to raised understand the general public health crisis of chronic pain. The majority of the report focused on the patient perspective, as 96% of survey respondents were individuals living with chronic pain.
The findings underscore the devastating impact of chronic pain on quality of life.
Looking ahead this September
On the whole, the information suggests not enough is being done for the management of chronic pain in America. Many areas must be explored, including increased pain education for health care professionals and the implementation of a public awareness campaign about chronic pain. Other needs include further investment in research for secure, effective treatments for chronic pain, and development of patient-education programs that emphasize self-management skills which can be offered early in a pain diagnosis. A vital first step is to extend awareness of chronic pain as a disease and to proceed to de-stigmatize this condition.
As we pull back the veil on chronic pain, we hope to:
- Highlight what life with pain looks like for 20% of the U.S. population.
- Address the fractured patient-provider relationship and find meaningful and helpful solutions to enhance it.
- Reduce stigma faced by those living with chronic pain, and promote empathy and overall understanding concerning the unique challenges of living with chronic pain—including the emotional and physical stress it may possibly cause caregivers and care partners.
The A Chronic Pain Crisis report was a very important first step in enumerating the truth of chronic pain. Looking forward, it’s equally vital to do not forget that these numbers represent lives. Individuals living with pain are desperate for relief, understanding, and hope. They’re looking for a greater quality of life while often battling access to treatment and value barriers. They need support and help, and to know that they should not alone and there are others like them on the market.
It’s time to start out discussing all elements of life with pain.
To learn more about U.S. Pain Foundation’s Pain Awareness Month initiative, click here.