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Pain Awareness Month

Increased Use of Pain Medications Due to Greater Awareness of Treating Chronic Pain 

September is National Pain Awareness Month, dedicated to increasing understanding of pain issues and supporting the more than 70 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain daily, according to The National Pain Foundation (NPF), a campaign sponsor.

The month-long pain awareness effort coincides with coverage of federal data indicating that sales of five commonly prescribed pain medications have almost doubled over the last eight years. The NPF, an educational and support organization for pain patients and their families, views this as a positive sign that pain is being taken more seriously by the medical profession.

"More health professionals now understand that pain must be adequately treated to improve function and quality of life in those who live with chronic pain conditions," said NPF Chairman Albert Ray, M.D., past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. "The trend of not understanding chronic pain is reversing with recent advances in pharmaceuticals, more research and improved scientific understanding of pain as a disease."

Chronic pain is the number one cause of adult disability in the United States, affecting one in three Americans. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, pain costs the U.S. economy $100 billion annually in lost workdays, medical expenses and related expenses. Unmanaged pain also wreaks havoc on patients, their families and friends.

"Chronic pain is a serious medical condition that should be treated," said Ray. "As part of National Pain Awareness Month, we encourage people in pain to educate themselves on
pain management and alternative treatments. Talk to your doctor and discuss the situation honestly with family and friends. No one should suffer pain needlessly or alone."

A multidisciplinary approach to pain treatment and management can help people with pain regain greater control of their daily lives, said Ray. Pain can be managed in a variety of ways, including opioid and non-opioid medications, neuromodulation that employs electrical stimulators for the nervous system, and a wide range of non-traditional methods, including acupuncture, physical therapy, massage and behavioral and psychological treatments that alter the way a person's brain processes pain information.

Source: The National Pain Foundation

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