The month of September is dedicated to Pain Awareness. According to the US Pain Foundation, “In 2001, a coalition of groups and organizations established September as the official month for the chronic pain community to receive national recognition. Organizations across the country come together during the month of September with the combined goal of bringing awareness to chronic pain and highlighting how pain affects individuals, families, communities, and the nation.”
Facts & Statistics
The US Pain Foundation shares these facts about chronic pain:
- 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.
- The National Institutes of Health dedicates only 2 percent of its budget to pain research.
Research & Studies
Many health conditions go hand in hand with chronic pain. Fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer, for instance. Sometimes chronic pain seems to have no known cause. In these cases, for example, scientists try to better understand multiple facets that can contribute to a patient’s pain. One study, discussed in this article, ties aspects of psychology, sociology and neuroscience together to create a more holistic approach to the landscape of chronic pain.
Another study focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), explaining how it can be used as a tool in coping with chronic pain.
Support & Resources
There are a lot of resources for people with chronic pain. The American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) can help to find support groups . In fact, the ACPA has multiple educational resources. Pain management programs, videos, resource guides and discussions about living with pain are all available.
Friends and family members can begin by being an active listener. Sharing information and support on social media with hashtags such as #LetsTalkAboutPain, #PainAwarenessMonth, and #PAM2019
Finding a doctor that understands a patient’s specific needs is also key to treatment. Support as well as care are integral aspects of living a better life with chronic pain.