SIP 2017 - Key Statement
Mauro Mario – No Pain Foundation (Secretary General), Malta
"The key to optimal management of chronic pain is a comprehensive assessment of the patient with persistent pain, rather than pain, per se. This assessment needs to take into account not only the site, duration, intensity and quality, and impact of pain, but also a wide range of possible contributors to the person’s experience of pain, disability, and emotional distress. Furthermore, the importance of viewing pain through a multifaceted lens allows one to understand pain as an interdisciplinary problem."
No Pain Foundation
Chronic pain should not be underestimated anymore
The social impact of chronic pain on a national and community level should be considered as an urgent matter not to be underestimated anymore.
As Secretary General of the No Pain Foundation, and myself being a chronic pain patient, I think it is important to explain what Pain actually means, especially from a patient’s point of view.
Pain means also dignity in the form of ability of the sufferer to fight pain, especially when it seems to take over and when the person’s vested rights seem to be trampled over and irreversibly taken away.
Chronic pain not only represents a serious concern related to health ethics and social equality, but also places a huge burden on national economies.
I would like to refer to an article published in 2012 in Journal of Pain, in which it is noted that the Pain disease is linked to an estimated socio-sanitary cost of 600 billion dollars a year.
Chronic pain has a very significant negative impact on the quality of life of patients, affecting daily activities and in particular the ability to work. In fact, persons affected by chronic pain are more frequently absent from work and are also forced to stop working earlier than others.
In Europe, the number of leave days taken because of pain is estimated to be about 500 million, which represents an economic burden equivalent to approximately 35 billion euro annually. The total cost for European systems for chronic pain is equivalent to approximately 300 billion euro/year.
Pain is a subjective symptom and as such difficult to fit into one clear-cut definition. Chronic pain has always been considered a symptom of an illness, which needs to be diagnosed and treated accordingly. In reality, however, pain should be considered as an illness in itself, given that its chronic nature does not correspond to temporal but to physiopathological criteria.
In spite of positive premises, the wider availability of evidence-based guidelines and the availability of pain-treating medication, a significant proportion of the European population still suffer from pain.
Chronic pain remains a challenge for medics and paramedics and remains a main health issue on a global level, both because of population ageing and because of the increase of chronic-degenerative diseases.
The chronic pain aspect, its socio-economic effect and most evident shortcomings in terms of support are priority areas for action within European and national health policies. The effective treatment of pain not only significantly improves quality of life but also prevents secondary disabilities.