Chronic Pain Epidemic: Rethinking how it’s treated
ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - More than 50 million Americans deal with chronic pain daily. That’s one in five Americans who live with debilitating chronic pain.
In fact, chronic pain is one of the most common reasons people see their doctor. Researchers estimate that the total value of lost productivity due to chronic pain is nearly $300 billion a year! Now, guidelines are outlining new ways to cope with this all-too-common problem.
“The pain I was experiencing was very intense abdominal pain,” claims Heather Kettle.
“Just bending down, reaching forward to tie my shoes felt like someone was stabbing me in the back,” Jennifer O’Neill describes.
“Walking became difficult because I get some swelling and pain,” says Al Perex
From knee pain to back pain and all the pains in between, the UK-based National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, known as “NICE,” has recently updated its guidelines for managing chronic pain. The group recommends against starting on pain drugs like opioids.
“There have been a lot more people that have chronic pain that do have an addiction to opioids, and instead of being able to get them through prescriptions, they’re kind of going turning to the black market and some of the opioids are laced with other more, potent drugs such as fentanyl,” states Carey Rothschild, a Physical Therapist
NICE endorses proven therapies for managing chronic pain such as exercise programs, cognitive behavioral therapy, and acupuncture. In the CDC’s new draft guidelines for treating pain, physical therapy is one of the main recommended approaches. And experts say a combination of these modalities might offer the most effective relief for someone with chronic pain.
Some common sources of chronic pain are fibromyalgia, arthritis, injuries, and inflammatory bowel diseases. One big challenge with therapies like acupuncture and physical therapy is a lack of insurance coverage, though many plans are starting to cover the cost of at least part of these treatments.
Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.
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