September is Chronic Pain Awareness Month


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What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is pain that lasts more than several months.  It may be described as lasting from 3 to 6 months, but longer than “normal healing”.  Sadly it is a very common problem. Results from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey show that:

  • About 25.3 million U.S. adults (11.2 percent) had pain every day for the previous 3 months.
  • Nearly 40 million adults (17.6 percent) had severe pain.
  • Individuals with severe pain had worse general health, used more health care services, and had more disability than those with less severe pain.

Why is Chronic Pain Important?
It is important as chronic pain becomes more common as people get older.  This is also true for individuals with intellectual disabilities too!  Individuals who experience chronic pain may see a decline in their quality of life; have difficulty keeping up at work or day program. They may also find it hard to walk, sit or stand for long periods, have trouble sleeping and can become anxious or depressed.

What conditions may cause Chronic Pain?

  • Low back pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Migraine

Treatment is often multidisciplinary and may include a specialist to treat a possible underlying health condition that is causing chronic pain. For example an endocrinologist would help an individual to manage diabetes (in a case with diabetic neuropathy). An Occupation Therapist (OT) or a physical therapist (PT) may also be part of the treatment team.

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