Pain Awareness Month
Increased Use of
Pain Medications Due to Greater Awareness of Treating
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
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
National Pain Foundation
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