Pain Awareness Month
September: Pain Awareness Month
In 2001, the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) established a Pain Awareness Campaign to generate greater understanding and recognition of chronic pain as a serious public health issue among healthcare professionals, individuals and families who are struggling with pain management, the business community, legislators, and the public.
One of the most difficult things for people with chronic pain is to explain to others what it is like to live with persistent pain. Feelings of isolation are very common as other people cannot comprehend the effect pain has on every aspect of life – sleeping patterns, social activities, work and family life are all impacted. It prevents people from enjoying a full life.
Each year 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.
Each September, Chronic Pain Ireland runs events to support the international campaign. Keep an eye on our events calendar for more details. Every year, our theme changes and our current press release and media kit can be accessed here
Chronic pain in Ireland
In Europe, 1 in 5 adults have chronic pain. In Ireland, it is much higher at 1 in 3 people. The data from Ireland was published as part of the landmark PRIME study, conducted by the Centre for Pain Research, NUI Galway.
Most doctors and policymakers are unaware of the higher prevalence of chronic pain in Ireland in comparison to the rest of Europe. This has widespread implications on society and the economy. Imagine you found it hard to do the most basic things, carrying shopping, walking up stairs, washing yourself, driving. Furthermore, people with chronic pain are 3 times more likely to be unemployed due to their 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 a result of cancer, vascular diseases, poor circulation or injuries. Cancer pain is usually described separately.
In Ireland, we need a National Pain Strategy that helps to prevent, recognise, treat and research all types of pain to maximise patient care. 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 better support those in our community with chronic pain. Together we can change the impact of chronic pain on our society.