The National Pain Foundation “I am treated like a …” Survey Results

N = 322

Highlights:

  • More than half (52%) of chronic pain sufferers are “concerned they’ll be treated like a drug addict by their pharmacist”
  • An additional 29% are “concerned they may be embarrassed by their pharmacist”
  • However, only 17% say they are actually treated poorly or very poorly by their pharmacist
  • 71% of chronic pain sufferers have seen four or more physicians to treat their pain
  • 42% of chronic pain sufferers have seen six or more physicians to treat their pain
  • 20% of chronic pain sufferers have seen 10 or more physicians to treat their pain 
  • More than half (53%) of chronic pain sufferers say their pain management physician treats them well or very well, while 21% reported being treated poorly or very poorly).
  • 57% say their nurse or nurse practitioner treats them well or very well, while 21% reported being treated poorly or very poorly)
  • 82% say they stopped seeing their physician because they were treated poorly

Some Comments from Survey:

I’m left feeling like my pain is all in my head and am not taken seriously. Very frustrating!

I have been degraded, humiliated, called a drug addict, told I take enough meds to kill an elephant.

I have a wonderful team of doctors, but it took 10 years of being treated poorly before I was diagnosed.

Most treat me with suspicion and assume I’m a drug-seeking addict.

Sometimes I don’t feel like they understand.

My doctor is more worried about the DEA, than about treating me.

Of all the doctors I’ve seen, only two heard me and understood. The rest assumed I was there for drugs.

If you have not yet taken the survey, please do so. The National Pain Foundation will publish updates to the data periodically.

About the Survey:

The National Pain Foundation distributed this survey to 3,000 chronic pain sufferers and posted the survey on NationalPainReport.com.  319 people completed the survey. Eighty percent (80%) of respondents were female. Subjects experienced pain for a wide range of reasons, with Fibromyalgia being the most common reported cause of pain. The purpose of the survey is to gain a general understanding of how people in pain are treated by those who participate in their management of pain.

How many doctors have you seen to manage your pain since it started?

63 of 319 (20%) seen more than 10 physicians

71 of 319 (22%) seen 6-10 physicians

92 of 319 (29%) seen 4-5 physicians

80 of 319 (22%) seen 2-3 physicians

12 of 319 (4%) seen 1 physicians

When you visit your pharmacy for a prescription of pain medicine, do you experience any of these feelings? (Check all that apply)

165 of 319 (52%) concerned they may be viewed as a drug addict by pharmacist

93 of 319 (29%) concerned they may be embarrassed by pharmacist

120 of 319 (38%) have no concerns

34 of 319 (11%) look forward to their experience with the pharmacist

How does the pharmacy / pharmacist treat you during visits for pain medication?

27 of 298 (9%) say their pharmacist treated them very poorly

24 of 298 (8%) say their pharmacist treated them poorly

63 of 298 (21%) say their pharmacist treated them fair

83 of 298 (28%) say their pharmacist treated them well

101 of 298 (34%) say their pharmacist treated them very well

How are you treated by your primary pain physician during appointments?

27 of 319 (8%) say pain physicians treats them very poorly

43 of 319 (13%) say pain physicians treats them poorly

80 of 319 (25%) say pain physicians treats them fair

87 of 319 (27%) say pain physicians treats them well

82 of 319 (26%) say pain physicians treats them very well

If you see a doctor other than the one who treats your pain, how does he or she treat you compared to your primary pain physician?

57 of 256 (22%) say other physicians treat them much worse than their pain doctor

46 of 256 (18%) say other physicians treat them slightly worse than their pain doctor

91 of 256 (36%) say other physicians treat them about the same as their pain doctor

26 of 256 (10%) say other physicians treat them slightly better than their pain doctor

36 of 256 (14%) say other physicians treat them much better than their pain doctor

How did former physicians who managed your pain treat you during appointments?

77 of 254 (30%) say former physician treated them very poorly

64 of 254 (25%) say former physician treated them poorly

48 of 254 (19%) say former physician treated them fair

31 of 254 (12%) say former physician treated them well

34 of 254 (13%) say former physician treated them very well

How does the nurse or nurse practitioner at the physician’s office that manages your pain treat you?

25 of 278 (9%) say nurses treated them very poorly

34 of 278 (12%) say nurses treated them poorly

61 of 278 (22%) say nurses treated them fair

66 of 278 (23%) say nurses treated them well

93 of 278 (33%) say nurses treated them very well

Have you ever stopped seeing a physician because you were treated poorly?

261 of 319 (82%) answered “yes”

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