Monday, March 24, 2008

Managing pain when it affects your life

I've been whining over at about my sore neck (Posts may slow down and Officially whining now) because it's been really affecting my life for the past week. Then, I realized that this week's Company's calling feature is about a surgeon who had to retire because of unrelenting nerve pain.

One reason I write the Help My Hurt blog is because pain can have such a devastating effect on people and it has such a high economic cost for both society and the people effected. Pain, like lower back pain - which is one of the most common chronic pain complaints in the so-called developed world - costs millions of dollars to society, employers and the healthcare system.

Besides not be able to work or being able to work as efficiently as before, people who used to be very productive in their personal life can no longer keep up the pace they used to keep. Volunteers may not be able to help coach the local baseball team, the Meals on Wheels volunteer may no longer be able to drive, the lay minister may no longer be able to visit the sick, and so on. So, it really is more than just economics - it affects society.

What is the solution? More research is being done on chronic pain. At a recent conference, physicians called for chronic pain to be designated a chronic illness - but will that help at all?

Many people with chronic pain can function well at certain times. I remember the first time I was off work as a nurse with a very sore back, I could still go out and shop (I had to, I needed food) and when a coworker saw me on the bus, she was very nasty about me being supposedly off sick because I was injured. I *was* injured. I couldn't work as a nurse. I couldn't sit for long periods and I couldn't stand for long periods. But I could get out of the house and run errands if my back felt up to it and I needed to.

Maybe before the issue of chronic pain and its economic impact can be addressed, we still need to work on the social and emotional view of others who live with it?

News for Today:
Some PediaCol drops could hurt children
Health Canada warns of serious skin reactions in patients taking carbamazepine
Health Canada recalls a brand of blood thinner
Study finds pitching mound height affects throwing motion, injury risk

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