CHICAGO, March 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- New research released today finds that pain continues to affect the majority of Washingtonians, yet most underestimate its severity and the need for effective treatment. The second annual survey by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) uncovered that one in two Washingtonians believe pain is just a part of life and one in four don't believe it can be eased with proper treatment. These misperceptions lead people to ignore their pain, which can cause more pain — creating a debilitating cycle.
The AOA survey shows that 83% of people in Washington say they, or someone they care for, have experienced pain in the past month. And pain sufferers in Washington are not alone. More than 76 million Americans in the United States live with pain every day — affecting more people than cancer, diabetes and heart disease combined.
For the second consecutive year, the AOA is working to raise awareness to ensure the best access to care for pain patients in Washington with the "Break Through Your Pain" public education campaign. Representing more than 78,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) in the United States, the AOA hopes to provide those living with pain with the knowledge and resources they need to better manage their pain.
"Chronic pain can impact every aspect of a person's daily life altering their mood, attitude and work productivity. Those suffering from chronic pain may feel alone or even discouraged about finding the right treatment plan for their pain," said Lindy Sue Griffin, DO, an AOA board-certified family physician in Seattle. "Every person's pain is different and the best way to manage chronic pain starts by talking to your physician about a personalized plan and exploring a range of treatment options. There is hope; you are not alone."
The Truth About Chronic Pain
Chronic pain, or pain experienced for more than three months, is a significant public health issue in Washington. Chronic pain impacts people of all ages and affects many different parts of the body, including the back, knees, neck, legs, feet and arms. Unfortunately, many Washingtonians have to overcome some obstacles when seeking effective treatment for their pain. The AOA survey uncovered the following information from Washington residents:
- One in five has admitted to putting off seeking treatment because they know some physicians are reluctant to prescribe pain medications.
- It can take Washington residents an average of four weeks before they are able to find the help needed to manage their pain.
It is important that Washingtonians experiencing pain carefully document their symptoms and have proactive conversations with their physicians about their pain. The AOA offers tools to help Washingtonians access the best possible care in order to find an effective treatment plan.
Steps to "Break Through Your Pain"
Since there is no "one size fits all" diagnosis, effective treatment requires collaboration between a patient and physician through an individualized pain management program that can be adjusted over time based on the patient's progress.
The AOA campaign aims to empower people from Washington to take charge of their pain with four simple steps:
- Visit the AOA website and take advantage of pain assessment tools that can help you describe and track your pain. The Living With Pain? Quiz and Break Through Your Pain! Assessment Tool are both available at www.osteopathic.org/pain.
- Schedule an appointment with a physician to discuss your pain and treatment options.
- Consider working with an osteopathic physician to design an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs. Click here to find a DO in your area.
- Follow your personalized pain management plan and track your progress, adjusting treatment techniques accordingly.
"At a time when Washington is evaluating health policies, we call on legislators and physicians to work together to ensure the best access to care for patients experiencing chronic pain," said AOA President Martin S. Levine, DO. "People living with pain should consider working with one of the more than 1,000 DOs in Washington to develop an individualized pain management plan. Osteopathic physicians are trained to treat the whole person and work with patients to find treatment options that work best for them."
To find more information and download online pain management tools from the AOA "Break Through Your Pain" campaign, visit www.osteopathic.org/pain.
About the American Osteopathic Association
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its professional family of more than 78,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs); promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools; and has federal authority to accredit hospitals and other health care facilities. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.
 National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2006 With Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans. Hyattsville, MD: 68-71
Contact: Nicole Grady
SOURCE American Osteopathic Association