September is declared as the national Pain Awareness Month that provides an opportunity for individuals and organizations to come together to raise awareness in communities across the country and bring positive change to the management of chronic pain.
The Pain Awareness Month was first established in 2001 by the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA). Eighty healthcare professional and consumer organizations, including the NAACP, support ACPA’s Partners for Understanding Pain. Organizations that participate in understanding pain include – American Academy of Pain Management, American Pain Society and American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
This year, the American Pain Foundation is organizing a Virtual March on Washington. The event is designed to raise awareness of the concerns about lack of access to pain treatment in the U.S. The American Chronic Pain Association has developed toolkits for use in spreading awareness.
The toolkit provides information for working collaboratively with healthcare professionals, consumer and professional organizations, journalists, community leaders, and elected officials to ensure that those who suffer from pain have access to appropriate and effective pain therapies.
Many things can be done to help promote Pain Awareness Month such as:
- Share tools to better communicate with the healthcare team
- Share information about pain management programs
- Call the local government and community leaders to let them know about the awareness month and issues of pain and pain management
- Donate to the ACPA to help fulfill their mission
Under-treatment of pain is a significant public health issue with far-reaching impact. Under treated chronic pain significantly impairs an individual’s quality of life and overall well-being. Unlike acute pain, chronic pain persists. Especially in older adults, pain can disrupt sleep patterns, cause increased irritability and impact both memory and cognitive function. Pain can be the result of conditions such as: arthritis, cancer or any complex regional pain syndrome.
Effective pain management improves the quality of the patient’s life. Established healthcare centers provide comprehensive treatments that may include physical therapy, chiropractic care, epidural and trigger point injections, and other interventional therapies such as – TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), administration of analgesics, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, anti-convulsants, narcotic medications and NSAIDs.