Chronic pain is a pain that persists beyond the normal time of healing or occurs in diseases in which healing does not take place. Chronic pain can occur when no obvious cause can be found, and is thought to be due to changes in the nervous system. Chronic pain is often accompanied by severe psychological and social disturbance. Chronic pain affects 7.8 million people of all ages in every parliamentary constituency of the UK. But two recent independent reports support a government commissioned survey that identified pain services in the UK as ‘variable and patchy.
When poorly managed, conditions associated with pain can have a devastating impact on the quality of life of individuals and their families. 25% of those diagnosed with chronic pain go on to lose their jobs and in 22% of cases chronic pain also leads to depression. The failure to implement an effective prevention and treatment strategy for chronic pain not only imposes an unnecessary burden on patients, but also represents an inefficient allocation of time, money and professional expertise. This includes 4.6 million GP appointments per year that often end without resolution leading to further appointments and £3.8 billion a year spent on incapacity benefit payments to those diagnosed with chronic pain. Pain is the second most common reason given by claimants of incapacity benefit. Few of these people are ever given a realistic opportunity to return to work, some are confined to living in poverty and many are forced to give up their personal aspirations and independence..
An improved chronic pain strategy that enables people to regain their independence may not involve significant additional resources, is likely to be cost-effective, and could help boost the national economy by up to £18 billion each year through increased output and productivity
With thanks to the Pain Coalition (2009) for enabling us to use this extract
(2015 - Chronic Pain now affects 14 million people)
(2016 - estimated just under 28 million currently live with a degree of chronic pain)