If chronic pain patients don’t have enough problems, add getting a hold of their doctor to the list. The American Pain Foundation (APF) released survey results today that said nearly one in five adult chronic pain patients have difficulties reaching their primary care physician.
The good news is that when they finally did speak with their doctor, nearly all reported that the doctor’s responses to their questions were “at least somewhat helpful.”
The online national survey was commissioned by the APF and conducted by Harris Interactive.
The APF also reported that 43% of those who sought pain treatment options had questions about their treatment after they left the doctor’s office. The three main areas that they wanted to know more about were:
·Treatment Side Effects
·Duration of Treatment
Not surprisingly, the survey also indicated that the older you get, the more likely you are to seek treatment for chronic pain. Young people aged 18-34 were less inclined to seek treatment; only 45% said they did. For people 65 years and older, 88% reported they had seen a doctor for chronic pain conditions.
Another study published online in The Annals of Emergency Medicine said that elderly patients are less likely than middle aged patients to receive pain medication in hospital emergency departments.
68 percent of patients aged 35-to-54 who had a primary complaint of pain received an analgesic such as morphine, oxycodone or ibuprofen. For elderly patients over 75, analgesics were only given to half the time.
“To us, the gap observed in pain management for older patients highlights the need to better understand how best to manage pain in older patients and understand the barriers to doing this,” said Dr. Timothy Platts-Mills, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine. “All patients, regardless of age, deserve to have relief from pain, especially when it is severe.”