Sep. 07, 2016

Free Yourself From Pain… It’s Pain Awareness Month

In 1931, Dr. Albert Schweitzer referred to pain as ‘a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself.’

Pain is cited as the most common reason Americans access the health care system. It is a leading cause of disability and a major contributor to health care costs. If you are like most people with lupus, you have experienced pain at some time, especially joint and muscle pain or headaches.

September is Pain Awareness Month and the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) aims to raise public awareness of issues in the area of pain and pain management.

“Chronic pain is a significant public health problem, affecting millions of Americans and incurring significant economic costs to our society,” said Karen B. DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acting assistant secretary for health.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 76 million Americans have suffered from pain that lasts longer than 24 hours and millions more suffer from acute pain.

The diversity of pain conditions requires a diversity of research and treatment approaches. In the 19th century, physician-scientists discovered that opiates such as morphine could relieve pain and chemist Felix Hoffmann developed aspirin from a substance in willow bark. Aspirin remains the most commonly used pain reliever.

For infants and children, pain requires special attention, particularly because they are not always able to describe the type, degree, or location of pain they are experiencing.

Discoveries of differences in pain perceptions and responses to treatment by gender have led to new directions for research on the experience and relief of pain. For example, medications called kappa-opioids provide good relief from acute pain in women, yet increase pain in men.

Living with a chronic condition requires changing the way you think about your health care and your life.  The ACPA describes this as moving from patient to person. 

If you suffer from pain, the ACPA has developed tools to help you begin to regain control of your life and become an active participant in your treatment team. Check out this Relaxation Video and Communication tools to increase your interaction with your health care professional.

Read more about how to deal with pain commonly associated with lupus here.

Information Source: American Chronic Pain Association

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