September is Pain Awareness Month
An estimated 116 million U.S. adults suffer with chronic pain –– twice as many people as have heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes combined. The financial cost of all this pain is $560–635 billion each year in direct medical treatment costs and lost productivity, which equates to $2,000 for every person living in America.
With such extraordinary numbers, you'd think treating chronic pain would be a high priority for healthcare professionals, the government and even businesses. Not so. Sadly, chronic pain is still woefully undertreated in the U.S. and around the world, which is why Pain Awareness Month is so important.
Following are a few of the awareness activities going on during the month of September 2011. Some can be done online and are very quick and easy, while others involve writing, doing artwork, walking or attending a symposium. I hope you'll choose one or more that appeal to you and help spread awareness about chronic pain issues.
“Imagine a World With Less Pain” Campaign – The American Pain Foundation asks you to join their “If I Lived in a World with Less Pain, I Could…” campaign to raise awareness and help secure a presidential proclamation naming every September National Pain Awareness Month. The Imagine a World with Less Pain page on their Website offers a list of suggestions as to how you can help.
Video Contest – Our very own HealthCentral is sponsoring a video contest through the month of September. You are invited to make a video telling about your own personal health journey. The grand prize is a $200 donation to the charity of your choice. For contest rules and information, visit HealthCentral's “This is Me” video contest site.
Invisible Illness Online Conference – National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week (Sept 12-19, 2011) falls in the middle of Pain Awareness Month. This year's theme is “Deep Breath, Start Fresh.” Watch the National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week Website for a schedule of this year's guest speakers and bloggers. Conference sessions can be listened to live or accessed later via BlogTalkRadio.
Run/Walk – Advanced Pain Management is sponsoring a run/walk at Greenfield Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 24, 2011. All proceeds will benefit the American Pain Foundation. See the Advanced Pain Management Website for more details and a registration form.
Art Contest & Auction – New Zealand has also adopted September as Pain Awareness Month. A fibromyalgia patient there has organized an art contest and auction with the proceeds going to benefit a NZ pain-related charity. For more information, visit their Pain Awareness Month Website.
Professional Baseball Game – The Arizona Diamondbacks are teaming up with the Power of Pain Foundation for a Pain Awareness Day at the Park on September 25, 2011 (the last regular home game of the season). Scott MacIntyre from season 8 of American Idol will be singing the National Anthem on behalf of PPF during the pregame presentation at Chase Field ballpark. Visit the Power of Pain Foundation Website for more information.
Symposium – Pain Connection is offering a one-day symposium on September 9,2011 in Rockville, Maryland. See the Pain Connection Website for details. The topics to be covered are:
• The peripheral and central factors associated with myofascial pain.
• The relationship between depression and chronic pain.
• Developing an individualized treatment plan for chronic fatigue syndrome.
If you know of other pain awareness activities –– whether they be international, national or just in your local area –– please click “Comment” below and share the information with us.
Let's all try to do something this month to increase awareness about chronic pain. A good start would be to share a link to this article on Facebook, Twitter, or in an e-mail to your friends and family.