By Ed Coghlan
The nation’s largest pain patient advocacy group has launched a campaign called “People With Pain Matter”. The U.S. Pain Foundation wants to raise public awareness of the impact of chronic pain on the lives of nearly 100 million people.
Not coincidentally, the announcement comes on the eve of Pain Awareness Month in September and as the national political campaign begins to move into its final phase.
People with Pain Matter plans to mobilize citizens to take legislative and regulatory actions, influence candidates for public office and members of the media, and leverage social media to encourage policymakers, candidates, and other healthcare stakeholders to enact policies that recognize that people with pain matter. Its website, PeoplewithPainMatter.org, provides a platform for stakeholder education and engagement.
“Just because your pain may be quiet doesn’t mean you have to be,” said Paul Gileno, CEO of the U.S. Pain Foundation. “Together, we must champion pain care improvements in America. Those with pain deserve to be heard and they deserve access to all forms of pain relief.”
One-third of US citizens experience some type of chronic pain. This includes a range of conditions including cancer, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic injuries. Yet, people with chronic conditions are increasingly being denied access to pain relief. Labeled as addiction risks, many people with pain have no other options and no access to medical disciplines that reduce pain by treating the whole person.
“It is time to remove the barriers to care caused by destructive public perception and marginalization of people with pain,” Gileno concluded.
U.S. Pain Foundation-which claims 70,000 members and 100,000-plus social media followers points out only 1 percent of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) research funding is targeted to pain research.
The campaign will dedicate its efforts to address the urgent needs of people living with pain, combat the stigmatization of people with pain, and call for a national investment in pain research to develop new pain therapies and treatments.