September is Pain Awareness Month, a nationwide effort to raise awareness about the effects of pain and ways to manage it. While it might seem odd that something as common as pain requires increased awareness, chronic pain is a largely misunderstood condition. Here are some quick facts you need to know about chronic pain:
- Chronic pain is defined as any pain lasting longer than a period of 12 weeks.
- Nearly 100 million Americans live with chronic pain. That’s more than the number of people affected by diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.
- Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability in the country.
- Pain is the most often cited reason that Americans access the health care system.
- It is estimated that chronic pain costs the nation approximately $100 billion each year in medical treatment, lost wages and lost productivity (Source: American Academy of Pain MedicineMedicine).
Pain Awareness Month provides a unique opportunity to discuss the effects of chronic pain with those around you. Whether you suffer from chronic pain yourself, know someone who does, or you simply want to make a difference, there are several ways you can get involved in this annual awareness campaign.
Spread the word
Talk to your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors about Pain Awareness Month. Share some of the facts about chronic pain with them, and let them know that treatments are available for pain-related conditions.
Alert the media
Call your local news station or newspaper and ask them to run a story about Pain Awareness Month.
Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider
Advancements in drugs and medical technology mean that chronic pain patients have more treatment options now than ever before. If you suffer from chronic pain and your symptoms are not under control, schedule an appointment with your doctor or pain specialist to discuss pain management techniques.
Share on social media
Use your Facebook or Twitter account to post educational information about Pain Awareness Month. The American Chronic Pain Association has videos about relaxation techniques and medication safety that can easily be shared on your account.
For more information about chronic pain and ways to manage it, visit the American Chronic Pain Association website.