September is Pain Awareness Month
Pain is something that many of us feel, but it cannot be seen and is quickly forgotten. For those living with persistent chronic pain conditions they often feel isolated as others cannot comprehend the impact pain has on every aspect of life. Chronic pain is not visible, it often prevents people from enjoying a full life, as work, family and social life are impacted and the condition can also greatly impact on sleep. Many people are also impacted as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts on longer delays for hospital appointments, delays to treatments along with the added feelings of isolation from family and friends.
One of the most difficult things to do is to have others understand what it is like to live with pain. This international campaign aims to draw attention to the need for better understanding of what a person with pain deals with on a daily basis, the challenges they face and society’s lack of understanding about chronic pain. This is an international effort to ensure that there is improved access to care and for greater education among the healthcare community and society.
In Europe 1 in 5 adults suffer with chronic pain. In Ireland it is higher. In 2011 Researchers from School of Psychology & Centre of Pain Research, NUIG Galway found that in Ireland 35.5% of adults in Ireland suffer with chronic pain. That’s 2 in 5 people. In those aged between 18 and 24 the proportion was 1 in 5 people, those aged 65 and over it was as many as 3 in 5.
42% chronic pain more than 5 years
15% have clinically relevant depression as a result compared to 2.8% living without chronic pain.
Imagine you found it hard to do the most basic things, carrying shopping, walking up stairs, washing yourself, driving.
12% unable to work or reduced work hours and are 3 times more likely to be unemployed due to their chronic pain.
Studies have also shown that:
75% chronic pain caused mainly by nerve damage or musculoskeletal conditions i.e. arthritis, joint pains, fibromyalgia etc
20% of chronic pain may also be due to headaches and migraine
5% as result cancer, vascular diseases, poor circulation or injuries. Cancer pain is usually described seperately.
How can we all work to help improve the lives of those living with chronic pain.
The World Health Organisation published ICD-11 which will for the first time include a code for chronic pain. Using this code will help healthcare services improve accuracy of diagnosis and subsequently improve treatment effectiveness, inform policy decisions and provide insights to educational and research requirements. In Ireland we need a national policy that helps to prevent, recognise, treat and research all types of pain in a holistic manner. This will help ministries work together because pain is not only a health issue, it affects every aspect of our lives. All of us, healthcare professionals, patients, carers, employers and policy makers need to learn how to work together to support better those in our community with chronic pain. Together we can change the impact of chronic pain on our society.
Chronic Pain Ireland services
At Chronic Pain Ireland we offer nationwide support to people living and learning to live with chronic pain, their friends, and family. We do this through our support phone-line, email, online forum, self-management workshops and information talks. Chronic pain is pain that persists past the normal time of healing, longer than 3 months.The pain may be continuous or intermittent. Chronic pain can be experienced by those who may not have evidence of tissue damage or biological reason for pain. It is an invisible condition, in that many suffering look well in appearance. However pain impacts on every facet of life, including financial, social and psychological implications. Chronic Pain presents substantial increased risk of depression, physical de-conditioning, poor self-esteem, social isolation and relationship breakdown. Yet with education and application of self-management skills people can learn to manage their condition and live life with quality and meaning.
Throughout September we will be releasing informative video’s and news via our social media platforms and also via our web-site library. Please consider becoming a member of Chronic Pain Ireland and help strengthen our voice. Membership details can be found here
History of Pain Awareness Campaign
In early 2001, the American Chronic Pain Association established a Pain Awareness Campaign. This undertaking pulled together many organisations across the US whose missions complement the ACPA’s under the umbrella of Partners for Understanding Pain. A key element of the effort was to establish September as Pain Awareness Month. This coalition was committed to raising awareness through mass media, public forums, and other sources so that chronic pain may be more readily recognised, better understood without the traditional stigma attached, and more fittingly treated and managed. The partnership, spearheaded by the American Chronic Pain Association, strived to create greater understanding among health care professionals, individuals and families who are struggling with pain management, the business community, legislators, and the public that pain is a serious public health issue. Through its members, each of whom brought its own perspective to the dialogue, Partners for Understanding Pain represents a comprehensive network of resources and knowledge about issues in pain management. Partners for Understanding Pain is dedicated to building the understanding and support that can help people with chronic, acute, and cancer pain lead better lives.
The common theme throughout the years has been a need for increased understanding, communication, education and access to care.
The partnership strives to create greater understanding among health care professionals, individuals and families who are struggling with pain management, the business community, legislators, and the public that pain is a serious public health issue. Through its members, each of whom brings its own perspective to the dialogue, Partners for Understanding Pain represents a comprehensive network of resources and knowledge about issues in pain management.