Expanding Awareness of Those Suffering with Chronic Pain

Lee and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to increase awareness in our community about the plight of people suffering from not just CRPS, but severe chronic pain in general. Here are some troubling statistics about the epidemic of chronic pain just here in the U.S.

  • 50 million Americans live with chronic pain.

  • Of that number, 20 million live with high-impact chronic pain, or pain that significantly limits daily activities.

  • These numbers do not include the millions of children living with pain.

  • Pain costs the United States an estimated $635 billion a year in terms of lost productivity and medical costs.

  • Pain is the number one reason Americans visit the doctor.

  • Pain is the leading cause of long-term disability in adults.

  • The National Institutes of Health dedicates only 2 percent of its budget to pain research.

  • Veterinary students spend five time as many hours learning about pain management as medical students.

 If those of us directly or indirectly affected by long term chronic pain, don’t get more involved to improve awareness and understanding, who will? And it is not just the general population that does not know enough about chronic pain. As the final stat listed above indicates, most doctors have had little to no training specifically about the nature and treatments for various types of chronic pain. September is Pain Awareness Month (see more information at the US Pain Foundation’s website- http://www.uspainfoundation.org ) Is it any wonder that so many people suffering from pain are misdiagnosed, treated as though they are imagining it, seeking medications, etc? The people who live with pain every minute of every day, and those who love and support them, must take the lead in getting legislators, medical providers and the general population educated about the realities and needs chronic pain patients!

Lee Greenan