Editors Note: Paul Gileno is the president and founder of U.S. Pain Foundation.
It’s no secret that America’s opioid overdose epidemic, coupled with the negative stigma towards people living with the complex disease of chronic pain, has created the perfect storm to hinder patients from the treatments and quality care they deserve. Yet, in the darkest of times when doctors are no longer willing or able to treat their patients, courageous individuals are able to bring light and inspiration at the forefront of these difficult circumstances.
In a society where chronic pain continues to be misunderstood and patients unfairly labeled and judged, we at U.S. Pain Foundation applaud Lady Gaga for sharing her story. She provides a much-needed voice to the plight of pain care in America. For the 1 in 3 Americans living with pain, she symbolizes hope. Hope not only to those dealing with fibromyalgia, but to anyone diagnosed with an invisible pain condition.
Living with pain is neither easy or fun; no one chooses it. Pain is an equalizer, as it knows no gender, race, or religion. Every day, those of us with pain fight. We fight to take a step, get out of bed, and live a normal life. In the end, we learn we must develop a new normal, a normal that includes pain in our day-to-day functions. In speaking from experience, doing so alone is difficult. But together, we can discover our strength and find our voice. Together, we must stand up to ensure patients are recognized, represented, and connected as a community.
Lady Gaga’s courage to come forward is significant for the underserved pain community. On behalf of U.S. Pain Foundation, I will be forever grateful for her candor and honesty, and believe a new conversation will emerge because of it.
To Lady Gaga – and the 100 million other Americans living with pain – U.S. Pain Foundation is here to help you navigate your journey.