In April, we asked them some basic questions about the state of pain management today, and since almost all (99%) who answered online described themselves as chronic pain patients, their frustration was palpable.
When asked if the pain patient is being adequately considered in the discussion of how to address the chronic pain issue in the United States, more than four out of five (81%) said they either moderately or strongly disagreed.
When we asked about government’s role, the skepticism we mentioned was in full flower:
84% said that federal regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration are part of the problem in chronic pain treatment, and 72% said the same about elected officials.
Reader Nancy Ribok lamented the lack of education in pain management when she wrote, “doctors need to be educated on pain management, and doctors need to educate patient about pain medication and how and when to use.”
Readers who participated were less critical about their own physicians. They were equally split on whether their doctor was part of the solution (33%), part of the problem (26%) or both (27%)
We asked about the National Pain Strategy which represents “the United States first strategic plan for transforming and advancing pain care, education, research and prevention,” according to Dr. Sean Mackey, Chief of the Division of Pain Medicine at Stanford University’s School of Medicine.
The question was: “Is the National Pain Strategy asking the right questions about how to address the pain issues in the U.S.?”
Half agreed and half didn’t.
“I understand the guarded skepticism that the person living with chronic pain has about the state of pain management today and of the National Pain Strategy,” said Dan Bennett, M.D. who is Chairman of The National Pain Foundation. “However, if we are going to have the needed global conversation about acute and chronic pain, the participation of the person living with pain and those who are concerned for them is crucial. Pain is personal. The conversation must start; it is long overdue. The National Pain Strategy should be thought of in that context. We urge people living with pain, those who care about them, and advocate groups in all areas to actively participate in the public comment process.”
The National Pain Report conducts occasional readers’ surveys to gauge reaction (and also to help decide what topics to cover).
Reader Beth McDonald had a message for us and other media members when she wrote on coverage of the pain medication issues:
“To the media I would try to report on a chronic pain sufferer to enlighten the public on how pain sufferers try every possible means of pain relief before needing pain medication and why it is so vital to many in order to function.”
The people who answered the survey were mostly women who listed back pain (78%), Fibromyalgia (46%), Neuropathy and Osteoarthritis (both 44%) and Migraines (37%) as the leading causes of their pain.
We will leave the survey open for a while longer, in case you want to participate (click here)
If you have comments on this or other stories, you can leave them in our comments section or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Editor’s Note: The National Pain Report agrees with the Consumer Pain Advocacy Task Force and others who urge public comment on the report. The National Pain Strategy is the first-ever comprehensive population level strategic plan to advance pain research, education, care and prevention.
Comments must be received by May 20, 2015. Written comments can be emailed to NPSPublicComments@NIH.gov, or addressed to Linda Porter, Ph.D., NINDS/NIH, 31 Center Drive, Room 8A31, Bethesda, MD 20892. Here’s a link to the report.