Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chronic pain - why is it so expensive?

Yet another article has come out about how chronic pain not only affects quality of life, but it hits the pocket book hard. A CBC article, Chronic pain poorly understood, costing Canada billions, says that one in five Canadians lives with chronic pain and that this costs society "billions of dollars a year in health costs, lost productivity..."

It's not hard to imagine why chronic pain would be expensive, whether you live in Canada, the U.S., or any other country. Doctors' visits aren't cheap, no matter who pays for them - the government, the patient, or an insurance company. Therapies, such as physical therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, and others, are expensive. Medications add up in cost, even if they are over-the-counter drugs. There are the devices that people buy to try to ease the pain, like TENS machines, splints, and more. And that's just for treatments. People who have chronic pain may find it harder to take care of themselves - shop for and cook healthy meals, exercise, and more. This can lead to other illnesses, which are costly in themselves.

There are also other costs associated with chronic pain. People with chronic pain may not be able to do the job they originally trained for or love to do. And while at work, they may not be able to be as effective as they would like to be or should be. People who are in pain may not go out shopping and buy products, go to movies, spend money.

I've written about chronic pain quite a bit, in articles and for this blog. It's a topic I've spoken about to university psychology students as well, in an effort to help them understand what it's like to live with chronic pain - how it can be isolating, angering, depressing. Here are a couple of the pain-related posts I've written for this blog:

Three Issues Interfering with Pain Management
Managing Pain Properly - No Matter What Age

Chronic pain is a real problem and as we continue to have an aging population, it really does need to be addressed and treated properly.

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