Relieving Pain in America


A Pain Crisis in America?

As pain patients I think it is important to know how pain is studied and discussed in the the medical community.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has recently released a free pre-publication copy of Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. I highly recommend spending some time reading this material. There are 350 pages of valuable information here but if you haven’t got that kind of time there is also a convenient downloadable summary. In addition, the IOM has provided this hour-long video which I think is more informative than the summary.

This link will take you to a page with options to download the free version or buy the final copy: Relieving Pain in America – a publication from The National Academies Press. There are also some good research tools in the “free resources” section.

Pain Treatment and Prevention

Here is a publication description from their page. I hope it will get you interested in taking a closer look at the summary, if not the entire report.

“Chronic pain affects at least 116 million American adults–more than the total affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. It costs the nation up to $635 billion each year in medical treatment and lost productivity. Pain is a uniquely individual and subjective experience that depends on a variety of biological, psychological, and social factors, and different population groups experience pain differently. Because pain varies from person to person, health care providers should tailor pain care to each person’s experience, and self-management of pain should be promoted.

A cultural transformation in the way clinicians and the public view pain and its treatment is necessary to better prevent, assess, treat, and understand pain of all types. Relieving Pain in America assesses the state of the science regarding pain research, care, and education and offers a blueprint for developing a population-level strategy to increase awareness about pain and its treatments. The report asserts that the National Center for Health Statistics, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, other government agencies, and private organizations should accelerate the collection of data on pain incidence, prevalence, and treatments. In addition, training programs for dentists, nurses, physicians, psychologists, and other health professionals should include pain education in their curricula and promote interdisciplinary learning.

Successful treatment, management, and prevention of pain require an integrated approach that responds to all the factors that influence pain. Government agencies, health care providers, health care professional associations, educators, patient advocacy groups, and public and private funders of health care must collaborate to address the issue of pain in America.”

Click on the link above to learn more about this important publication and its authors.