Chronic Pain Ranked Low as Major Health Problem

Chronic Pain Ranked Low as Major Health Problem

bigstock-Rheumatism-31824317Pain may be the number one reason people see their doctors, but according to a national opinion poll, only 18 percent of Americans believe chronic pain is a major health problem. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, drug addiction, depression, alcoholism and Alzheimer’s disease all ranked higher as health problems in the survey commissioned by Research!America.

Chronic pain – generally defined as pain that lasts for more than six months — affects about 100 million Americans and costs $600 billion annually in healthcare and lost productivity.

While pain ranks low compared to other health problems, the survey found that nearly two out of three Americans (63%) know someone who experienced pain so severe they sought prescription drugs to treat it.

Most Americans are also concerned about the misuse of pain medications. A high percentage (82%) believe that taking prescription painkillers long term could result in addiction and an even larger number (85%) are very concerned or somewhat concerned that pain medication can be abused or misused.

About 40% say painkiller misuse and addiction is a “major problem” in their community.

“We need to better understand addiction,” said Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley. “We shouldn’t shy away from research on new pain treatments based on fears of abuse. The suffering is simply too great. More robust investment in research and the engagement and support of policy makers and health care providers are essential to developing effective strategies to reduce the prevalence of addiction.”

Over half of those surveyed (54%) believe doctors don’t spend enough time discussing with patients the risk of addiction to prescription painkillers. A similar number (52%) believe doctors should have limits on the amount and dosage of pain medication they are allowed to prescribe.

Other poll highlights:

  • 60% say chronic pain tends to be dismissed by doctors and the public.
  • 39% believe chronic pain should get more attention from the media.
  • 31% say media coverage of chronic pain is “about right.”
  • Only 4% believe it’s the responsibility of law enforcement to address the prescription drug abuse problem.

When asked how they would treat their own chronic pain, nearly two out of three (64%) said they would use physical therapy; followed by over-the-counter pain medication (55%), diet or lifestyle change (54%), chiropractor (49%), prescription painkillers (47%), herbal remedies (38%), and acupuncture (36%).

The national public opinion poll of 1,016 American adults was conducted online in March 2013 by Zogby Analytics for Research!America.

Authored by: Pat Anson, Editor

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. D Ratliff at 6:38 pm

    Bravo E11!! I second that!! It is very REAL to Floridians that our state government has forgotten about us, or better yet? They just don’t give a damn! They only care about addicts that cause the problems on theirselves. I can’t feel sorry if someone overdoses anymore. The under treatment of pain in FL has caused me to feel this way. Alcohol is the worst drug but the govt. doesn’t worry about that!! Alcohol is what caused the deaths! They drank on top the medication that wasn’t prescribed to them in the first place.
    I can’t and don’t believe that this survey was taken by legitimate pain patients! NO WAY!!

    I say.. WE have a HUMAN RIGHT to be treated for chronic pain and should have a choice on how to be treated! Yes, many have tried everything to relieve their pain before choosing medication. For most pain patients, it’s the medicine that keeps us alive! After years of trying everything. It is proven that medication and CAM therapies are what help the most but many FL doctors are making patients subject themselves to the injections that have proven to be ineffective, harmful and very expensive. Please WAKE UP People?? It can happen to you! chronic pain! and physical therapy for many of you will NOT help at all. Mild stretching exercises and Hot soaking baths and medications will be most beneficial. STOP the torture in FL and across the country! Tell CONGRESS, FDA, and mostly the DEA to back OFF! There are no more pill mills in FL. Doctors who don’t want to do these needle procedures are NOT ALL pill mills! They know how steroids can cause more damage to the organs. Also,educate these invasive doctors who are ignorant and don’t want to prescribe the effective doses that keep patients functional or the suicide rate is going to RISE!! I can promise that! I know many pain patients that would have to consider death, if they can’t get out pain. I hope the government thinks about this alot more before they do something very stupid, like allow the PROP petition.

  2. E11 at 9:48 am

    Who on earth wrote the survey?
    With conclusions like “A high percentage (82%) believe that taking prescription painkillers long term COULD result in addiction and an even larger number (85%) are very concerned or somewhat concerned that pain medication CAN be abused or misused.

    With those words in the survey, Do you think that taking prescription painkillers COULD result in addiction..”..Any logical, somewhat intelligent person could assume that, Yes, it COULD, or CAN be abused…

    I am sitting here in a lot of pain right now. I have medications, but am terrified every month when I go into my appt that either my doctor of eight years just closed his doors (DEA enforced..why, because they can), or that when I go to get my prescription filled, I will be given a multitude of excuses as to why they do not have them.

    Now, if I were to misuse, or addicted (dependent is not addicted), I would gobble them up just not to be in pain this afternoon. BUT, I know, there is another afternoon that is going to be just as bad, if not worse. I control myself, as do MOST of long term chronic pain patients–we have to–we don’t have a choice.

    I am tired of the parents holding pictures of their children that died because they decided to abuse medications (they got illegally most likely) and mixed it with alcohol or other street drugs/medications…..
    Should I stand up with a picture of MY TWO KIDS–that have a mother that is half the time anxious and depressed, usually in pain, because the climate in our country deems us expendable?

    Okay. sure maybe I am expendable as I am not “contributing” to society as I once did (though I would estimate that I contributed more in my working years then most), BUT, what about MY KIDS? Don’t you want them to grow up and be productive members? How many kids are being raised by one or no parent because a patient just couldn’t take it anymore and committed suicide?
    It is a very real option when you have so much pain, that you can barely think..and then these articles come out, that contradict each other–statistics just don’t add up…everyone is still using statistics (if those weren’t inflated already) from over FIVE years ago. Yes, I am upset–for whatever reason, in the last month or so, in Florida the situation is reaching crisis with many patients not being able to fill their LEGAL prescriptions.

  3. Mark S. Barletta at 6:24 am

    When you tried physical therapy, over the counter pain
    medication ,diet or lifestyle change, chiropractor, herbal remedies and acupuncture and they don’t work you will reach for what does work and most of the time that will be prescription pain medication. I tried all of the above and they didn’t work. I’m not saying one of the above will not work for a individual but when you’ve exhausted all avenues and you become disgusted with the system that’s when I found out what worked for me.

    Addiction has gotten out of hand with prescription pain medication and I don’t have the answer to how we fix this but meantime don’t let true chronic pain sufferers pay the price in pain for mistakes of people that abuse these life saving medications.

    Mental health is a huge problem that leads to the abuse of drugs, its time this is addressed and somehow get this under control.