Chronic pain is a disease that millions of people across the country suffer from, but is just now starting to receive notice and press. Since the disease has only recently been recognized as a disease by itself, and not a byproduct of another bodily problem, there is still little known about the cause of the disease. As a result, it still remains underdiagnosed.
A recent op-ed piece by a Boston area news reporter highlighted the elevated press surrounding chronic pain and its under-diagnosis. The reporter talked at length about a recent article published by the New England Journal of Medicine, a very old and prestigious medical journal. According to both articles, "the magnitude of pain in the United States is astounding.” More than 116 million Americans live in some degree of chronic pain, and this figure doesn’t even include kids, people in the military or people in nursing homes. The cost is astounding, too: An estimated $560 to $635 billion, more than the costs of cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined." Furthermore, the article went on to state that medical schools do not really teach about the treatment and management of chronic pain. According to a survey of 117 medical schools last year showed, it seemed that doctors learn remarkably little about pain in school and primary care physicians do not feel fully prepared to deal with cases involving significant pain.
Chronic pain is a tricky diagnosis in terms of finding the right medication combination that will work, but will not lead to overmedication. Working with your physician and seeing what is right for you is the only way to find an effective, realistic pain management treatment. If you would like more information about this page or central Pennsylvania attorney Doug Stoehr's areas of practice, contact our Altoona, Pennsylvania, law firm by calling 814-946-4100.