With the prevalence of chronic pain in this country chances are you, or someone you know, suffer from pain on a daily basis. For those of us who do not live in pain, it may be difficult to understand the issue. We don’t have disrupted sleep or difficulty moving around. We don’t file for disability because the pain has become too debilitating that even getting dressed is a challenge. We can’t understand. And, for those who live with chronic pain, it is not always evident as to the best course of treatment, or the right steps to take, when seeking help from a health care provider.
Pain Awareness Month was created to increase awareness about the effects of pain and to educate people about the treatment options available to help alleviate pain. Pain Awareness Month creates a vehicle to advocate for pain patients and their rights. It is a way to have their voices heard and increase access to knowledge and tools that help people in pain maneuver through the healthcare system.
Pain at a Glance:
- Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined, impacting over 100 million people. (Source)
- The annual cost of chronic pain is as high as $635 billion a year; an amount equal to about $2,000 for everyone living in the U.S. (Source)
- Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. (Source)
- Chronic pain significantly contributes to lost productivity at work, costing employers anywhere between $299 to $334 billion annually. (Source)
- One-third to more than 50% of patients at chronic pain clinics have a current major depression. (Source)
Chronic pain, and the broader topic of pain management, are not always appropriately addressed. Further research and more effective treatments are needed, as well as, increased education for patients and physicians alike.
If you know someone in pain, talk to them about it. Learn about their struggles and triumphs. And, if they need help, reach out.
Top Ten Tips: The Road to Pain Relief
- Don’t be afraid to speak up! Only you know the extent of your pain and how it affects your quality of life.
- Knowledge is power. There are a variety of drug and non-drug therapies (e.g., physical therapy, yoga, meditation) available to effectively control pain; these are typically used in combination. Ask your healthcare provider about ways to relax and cope with pain. Your pain may feel worse if you are stressed, depressed or anxious.
- Set realistic goals with your healthcare provider for things you most want to do, such as sleeping, working, exercising or enjoying sexual relations. Begin with the easiest goals first.
- Tell your provider what over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements you take, at what dose and how often. Also let him or her know about other personal health habits (e.g., smoking tobacco, alcohol use), which can interfere with some pain treatments and increase pain levels.
- Keep a pain journal to record the frequency and intensity of your pain. Use descriptive words, such as sharp, crushing, throbbing, shooting or tender. Also, take note of how well your treatment plan is working and what makes your pain worse or better.
- Write down questions you have before each appointment and tell your provider(s) if there is something you don’t understand.
- Bring a relative or friend to your appointments for support, to help take notes and to help remember what was said.
- Find out about support groups and educational programs in your area or online.
- Reach out to supportive friends and family members when you need them.
- Know there will be good days and bad days.
For the month of September, Oska Wellness will be donating $10 for every Oska Pulse sold to the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association. Follow us on social to get more updates and news on pain awareness month.