Chronic pain treatment 'failing'. A new survey has revealed that a significant number of people with chronic Pain in Ireland are continuing to suffer from the condition despite treatment efforts. According to the findings, chronic pain management is failing for one-third of Irish patients with severe chronic pain. Chronic pain is a long-term, complex condition, which effects people biologically, psychologically and socially. At least two in three sufferers experience pain on a daily basis and one in five go on to be diagnosed with depression as a result. The pain may affect one or two areas of the body, however some people experience pain throughout their body.
The results stem from the PainSTORY (Pain Study Tracking Ongoing Responses for Year) survey, which is following the progress of chronic pain patients in 13 European countries over the course of one year. This latest data provides a picture of patients’ lives over the three months since the survey was initiated. It shows that many Irish patients are still struggling with their pain, despite consulting with a healthcare professional. Furthermore, nine out of 10 chronic pain patients are taking prescription medication, one-third of whom indicated that their pain has either stayed the same or deteriorated in the period since the study began. Furthermore, nine out of 10 chronic pain patients are taking prescription medication, one-third of whom indicated that their pain has either stayed the same or deteriorated in the period since the study began.
"Chronic pain continues to have a significant impact on patient's quality of life. This highlights the need for pain to be managed within a multidisciplinary framework which addresses both the patient's physical and psychological needs", commented Dr Brona Fullen, president of the Irish Pain Society. She said that resources for the management of pain are needed to increase the number of multidisciplinary pain clinics and programmes nationwide.
Since their initial interview three months ago, 33% of Irish patients have said that their worst level of pain has since intensified, 19% have progressed from moderate to severe pain and 4% have progressed from mild to moderate pain. The data also shows that almost half of chronic pain patients in Ireland now walk and sleep less or need help with these activities. A small proportion (14%) also wash less. The findings indicate that Irish patients are more likely to reduce the extent to which they do an activity rather than ask for help with it. The influence of pain also extends into patients’ working lives, with almost half having changed the way they work.
The data also noted that more than one-third of patients on pain medication were suffering from at least one side effect as a result, including constipation, dizziness and drowsiness.
"Side effects are affecting these people. Patients are finding themselves in situations where they need to choose between using pain relief medications or compromising their pain management by not taking medications to avoid the burden of side effects", explained Prof Serdar Erdine of the World Institute of Pain. He added that the results from the PainSTORY survey so far demonstrate the need for improved pain management across Europe.