MAIN | AT HOME | FOR PROFESSIONALS | HEADLINES | FORUM | CONNECTIONS | BOOKSTORE | SUPPLIER MART
SEARCH
Search For:

SISTER SITES
Managed Care
Information Center

Health Resources Publishing

Managed Care Marketplace.com

Health Resources Online


SITE INFO
Feedback
About Us
Bookmark Us

home / at home / self-care / story
Self-Care

Some People in Pain Unlikely to Seek Treatment

More than 20 percent of people with chronic pain did not seek physician help for their pain, found a recent research study. The findings support the opinion of many physicians that a large segment of patients have an unmet need for pain care.

Increased media attention and physician education are recommended to decrease the number of "silent sufferers," according to the results of the study that looked at 3,575 people. Of the 2,211 respondents who reported pain of more than three months' duration, 22.4 percent (497) stated that they had not informed their physician about their pain. The survey covered a cross-section of residents of Olmsted County, Minn., from March through June 2004.

It is unclear whether the reasons for not seeking treatment are limited to minor impact of pain on the person, or for other reasons such as poor previous experiences with pain care, perceived lack of effective treatments, and barriers to health care; lack of medical insurance, for example, the researchers said.

The importance of pain management has gained increasing recognition in the last decade. In 1995, the American Pain Society declared pain to be the fifth vital sign, a designation to increase pain awareness among health care professionals.

The rapid increases in pain medicine prescription hint at a population of patients with unmet pain needs, according to the study.

"Identification of patients in pain is essential to successful pain care. Despite significant efforts, successful pain care clearly is not happening. Physicians have a responsibility to ask their patients about chronic pain," said Dr. Barbara Yawn, an Olmsted Medical Center physician and an author of the study.

Pain's health impact on society is significant. Pain sufferers report that their pain interferes with their general activities and sleep. Approximately 25 percent of "silent sufferers," those not telling their physician about their pain, indicated at least moderate interference with both general activity and sleep. A larger proportion of vocal sufferers (43.2 percent) showed comparable levels of interference. In general, the location of the pain had little effect on whether the patients reported their pain. The study found that chronic pain suffers who do not seek treatment tend to be younger men whose pain has less impact on their usual activities.

The study results were published in the February issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Other researchers included Emmeline Watkins, Ph.D., from the Department of Epidemiology at AstraZeneca, and Peter Wollan, Ph.D., from Olmsted Medical Center, and Dr. Joseph Melton, from Mayo Clinic. The study was supported by a grant from AstraZeneca.

For more information visit www.mayoclinicproceedings.com.


© 2006 Health Resources Publishing