CHICAGO, April 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- New research released today finds that pain continues to affect the majority of Floridians, yet most underestimate its severity and the need for effective treatment. The second annual survey conducted by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), uncovered that four in 10 Floridians believe pain is just a part of life or a standard part of the aging process, and some 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 Florida say they, or someone they care for, have experienced pain in the past month. And pain sufferers in Florida 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 Florida 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.
"The need for education and awareness around chronic pain remains a key issue in the state of Florida, and it is critical that physicians work closely with policymakers to ensure the best access to care is available for everyone," said Joseph A. Giaimo, DO, an AOA board-certified internist and pulmonologist in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. "Every person's pain is different and the best way to manage chronic pain starts by finding a physician that you can partner with to explore various treatment options and develop a personalized plan that is right for you."
The Truth About Chronic Pain
Chronic pain, or pain experienced for more than three months, is a significant public health issue in Florida. 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 Floridians have to overcome some obstacles when seeking effective treatment for their pain. In fact, according to the AOA survey, it takes Floridians an average of four weeks before they are able to find the help needed to manage their pain. And, one in four Floridians might not speak to a medical professional about chronic pain because of fear that they can't afford treatment. However, it is important that Floridians experiencing pain carefully document their symptoms and have proactive conversations with their physicians about their pain.
Steps to "Break Through Your Pain"
Since there is not a "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 Florida 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 Florida 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 5,000 DOs in Florida 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