September was designated Pain Awareness Month
in 2001 to bring national recognition to the struggles and challenges people face daily when dealing with chronic pain. Each year, numerous organizations come together across the U.S. to raise awareness for individuals, families, and communities and to give this silent epidemic a voice. This year’s theme is “Let’s Talk About Pain,” to encourage people to overcome the stigma and shame associated with chronic pain and to begin new conversations to dispel the myths and misconceptions that are all too prevalent.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that, in 2016, 20.4% (50 million) of adults in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain and another 8% (19.6 million) have high-impact chronic pain, which often limits quality of life, work, and social activities. Chronic pain is the main reason adults in the U.S. seek out medical care, and it’s the major cause of long-term disability in adults.
Even though the financial burden of chronic pain in the U.S. soars to $635 billion each year (medical costs, lost productivity, disability payments), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have dedicated only 2% of its funding to chronic pain research.
In light of the opioid epidemic in the U.S., people suffering from chronic pain have had difficulty finding appropriate treatments. The medical profession, in general, is afraid to prescribe any type of opioids for fear of losing their licenses to practice, and patients with disabling pain are having their medications reduced further limiting their activities and greatly affecting their quality of life. Additionally, insurance companies provide limited coverage for alternative treatments, such as physical therapy, therapeutic massage, and acupuncture, making pain control even more difficult.
There is an urgent need for new treatments, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological, to help people manage their pain. Research studies testing the use of Cannabis, medical marijuana, and CBD oil to treat pain have increased significantly in the past decade.
sponsored their 2nd
Annual Cannabis Sciences Virtual event in March presenting current research and prevailing thoughts about the challenges and benefits of medical Cannabis. The entire event can be viewed On-Demand through the end of September.
There are numerous clinical studies in progress exploring new ways to treat pain without the use of opioids; however, until there are safe and effective therapies approved by the FDA, the voices of those who suffer need to be heard. Advocacy is vital; having the support of family, friends, and their communities won’t take the pain away but will help connect people with peers and resources.