This week's Throwback Thursday is centering on National Public Radio (NPR)'s coverage of chronic pain. It's great when a national news source such as NPR can weigh in and provide information about such an important medical phenomenon. Here's the original article for your viewing pleasure:
In our latest edition of Throwback Thursday here at our blog, we'll be taking a look at how chronic pain can affect your work life. What do you think? Can you compartmentalize pain while you're at work?
As stated in a recent Huffington Post article, patients who suffer from chronic pain also often have experiences with other cognitively-based problems like memory and attention difficulties. According to the article, which can be found by clicking this link, "A study conducted by Nadine Attal and her team suggests that those who have problems with their brain's ability in attention, memory or other executive functions may have more issues with chronic pain after surgeries." The results of this study are interesting because they suggest that, not only does your brain respond differently as a result of dealing with chronic pain, but you may respond differently to dealing with chronic pain as a result of your brain's cognitive makeup.
A leading psychological news source, PsychCentral.net, recently posted an article about the prevalence of chronic pain. According to their research, about 1 in 5 Americans suffer from daily pain that has spanned 3 or more months. Across the US, these numbers equate to almost 40 million Americans. Women appear to be at a higher risk for chronic pain than men, and minorities appear less likely to report incidences of chronic pain. For more on the article and its research, please click here.
According to a recent article by the LA Times, it appears that opioid medication may not be a good option for patients suffering from chronic pain. As stated in the article, chronic pain patients who regularly use opioids to manage their pain are at a heightened susceptibility to overdose and become addicted to their prescriptions. Additionally, continual use of opioid medication to manage chronic pain leads to a buildup of tolerance, which may necessitate a higher dose of medication to achieve pain relief. To read more from this article and the corresponding position statement by the American Academy of Neurology, please click here.
According to a recent news report, a team of Stanford scientists is working on a way to more effectively treat chronic pain. One of the team members, who is an electrical engineer, is currently working on developing tiny robotic devices that be inserted in the body and work to regulate pain signals. These devices are planned to be operated remotely. The researchers involved in this project are hoping that their new technology will provide an effective alternative for chronic pain patients who are not responding to medication and/or have not received any significant benefits from surgery. For more on this cutting-edge research, please read the original article here.
Chronic pain is very real and prevalent medical diagnosis, but it is also one that many refuse to accept and acknowledge, whether they are the sufferer of the pain or not. Pain Pathways magazine (Spring 2011) had a brief article addressing the issue of chronic pain and public perception of the disorder. Pain Pathways states that patients suffering from chronic pain have two major social issues to overcome when dealing with their diagnosis--perception that others will think that they are weak for reporting their pain, and fear of job loss if they report the condition to their employers. Additionally, many chronic pain patients also don't want to seek treatment for their condition because they fear that it is untreatable or they don't want to become addicted to pain medications.
The Huffington Post covered an article focusing on the few things that people suffering from chronic pain would like others to know. Many people suffering from chronic pain not only deal with the physical pains of the disease, but also the emotional pains that come from having conflict with family and friends over the disease. Sometimes, people with chronic pain find it difficult to do simple, everyday things that healthy people take for granted. This can cause conflict when healthy family members or friends do not fully understand what their pain-enduring counterparts are dealing with.