Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Pain Control

Who's Hurting?
According to the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), nearly a third of American will experience chronic pain at some point in their lives. And approximately 50 million American live with chronic pain today; it is the number one cause of adult disability in the United States. ALPS reveals that people are experiencing pain at a younger age than what may be commonly perceived or assumed; proportionally just as many younger people surveyed experience back pain as do middle aged and older adults.

Pain in the Workplace
Pain costs the United States an estimated $100 billion in lost productivity every year, according to a JCAHO report. The survey demonstrates that chronic pain is a major cause of absenteeism. ALPS shows that 41 percent of those employed and living with chronic pain report their pain adversely affects their ability to put in a full day's work; three in 10 (27 percent) say it impacts their ability to get to work in the first place. One in six employed people living with chronic pain say it has adversely affected their career advancement opportunities.

How is Pain Being Treated?
Once people address their condition, ALPS reveals that treatment of chronic pain varies, with nearly half of people taking prescription medication and about half not taking prescription medications. For those taking only prescription medication, 81 percent report being very satisfied with how their doctor is helping them manage their pain, as opposed to 64 percent of those who are taking only over-the- counter medication. 86 percent of those taking only prescription medication also use alternative treatments, including physical therapy (58 percent), massage (39 percent) and meditation (23 percent).

Many Fear Losing Access to Pain Medicine
With increasing attention being paid to cost and legislative issues, people with pain express concerns about access. Three in ten have been unable to get a prescription filled because of cost or lack of insurance. Almost three in 10 believe that it will become more difficult to get the medications they need in the future.

Satisfaction and Concerns about Medication Vary
Attitudes toward medications show as much variation as the types of people experiencing pain. Significant numbers of people with pain report concerns about taking pain medications including fear of side effects (56 percent) and worries that they will need medication for the rest of their lives (49 percent) while showing surprisingly little awareness (26 percent) of prescription topical pain patches as an alternative. Concern about potential side effects among those taking only prescription medication is generally higher among 35 to 50 year-olds, with 58 percent worried that it might be addictive. Compared to those taking prescription pain medicines, users of both prescription and over the counter medications were more likely to experience side effects (drowsiness: 52 percent, nausea: 41 percent).

The Partners Mission is to:

create greater understanding among Healthcare professionals, individuals and families who are Struggling with pain management, the business community, legislators, and the general public that pain is a serious public health issue;
Offer a comprehensive network of resources and knowledge about issues in pain management through the members, each of which brings its unique perspective to the dialogue; and
Build understanding and support that can help people with chronic, acute and cancer pain lead better lives.