The Founder and President of the US Pain Foundation believes that 2016 will be a positive one for chronic pain sufferers.
“There are indication that the chronic pain community is coming together,” said Paul Gileno who heads the nation’s largest and most influential pain patient advocacy group.
Gileno points out that whatever your specific malady, be it arthritis, migraines, RSD, cancer, fibromyalgia or something else, there’s a common reason to fight chronic pain—because it impacts all those (and other) conditions where chronic pain exists.
“The stigma of chronic pain remains,” he told the National Pain Report in a year-end interview. “It’s still a taboo subject in some corners.”
But it’s the potential unity that Gileno is focused on.
2015 ended with a big controversy in chronic pain, one that is continuing as the calendar turns. The Centers for Disease Control controversial Draft Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain has dominated the debate. The CDC has been widely criticized for not including any of the major physician and patient pain advocacy groups in developing the guidelines. (Here’s a story on Gileno’s criticism)
“The CDC guidelines are an overreaction to addiction and abuse and kept out a legitimate point of view that opioids can help millions in chronic pain,”’ said Gileno.
The criticism was so intense that the CDC decided to open a public comment period for a month. The last chance to comment is January 13.
“Ironically, the CDC might unify us,” Gileno pointed out.
Another federal document, this one larger and more comprehensive is expected to be released early in 2016. The National Pain Strategy (NPS)
The NPS looks at chronic pain well beyond the opioid debate. It includes an emphasis on professional education and training, public education and communication, service delivery and reimbursement, prevention and care, disparities, and population research. The draft included input from Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Defense, and Department of Veterans Affairs. The draft also reflects input from scientific and clinical experts and pain patient advocates.
“The NPS could help us in attracting financing and funding for research,” said Gileno. “An important area of the NPS is to devote time and resources to education. Many people still do not understand what having chronic pain means, and it is critically important that more people understand this terrible condition.”
The US Pain Foundation ran a recent survey that the National Pain Report helped promote. The results of the poll are another reason Gileno is optimistic about 2016 for chronic pain.
“We had 800 people sign up to be trained to advocate on behalf of chronic pain patients and their families,” said Gileno. “That gives us hundreds more people to talk with legislators, Congress and the media about chronic pain. It’s a great development.”
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If you haven’t commented on the CDC Guidelines you can do here. Remember, the deadline to comment is January 13.
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