Guidance, help and hope for those living with chronic pain
(BPT) - It’s the health challenge that affects nearly a third of American adults – more than heart disease, diabetes and cancer combined, according to a recent report. It costs society between $560 billion and $635 billion in medical bills and lost productivity every year. You or someone you love may be directly affected. What is this phantom epidemic? Untreated or under-treated chronic pain.
Approximately 100 million adults live with chronic pain, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). While the causes of chronic pain are as varied as the people who suffer from it, one thing is universal, says Myra Christopher, the Kathleen M. Foley Chair for Pain and Palliative Care at the Center for Practical Bioethics and a member of the committee that developed the IOM report.
“Society as a whole and the medical community in particular needs to respond to this public health crisis,” Christopher says. “Right now, the average person living with chronic pain sees six or seven doctors over four years before finding relief from their pain. We are capable of improving those numbers, but it will require pervasive change and improved awareness on all fronts to achieve that.”
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