Reprinted with the kind permission of the PAINS Project.
Over 70 percent of pain patients feel that people do not believe their pain, according to results from an end-of-year survey issued by the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFCPA).
78 percent of respondents do not believe people should learn to live with pain, while 77 percent live in fear of not being able to find health care to control their pain. The opinion survey results imply that pain diseases are generally misunderstood by the public.
“Life-altering, chronic pain is real, and it is a public health crisis,” said NFCPA President Jan Chambers. “We cannot ignore the disease of chronic pain any longer; public understanding and effective pain relief are needed now.”
NFCPA, a global community supporting individuals living with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain diseases, is focusing advocacy efforts on reducing stigmatization of pain diseases and eradicating access to care barriers through education.
“Untreated pain such as fibromyalgia has a devastating impact on individuals, families, communities and our nation,” Chambers said. “Our constituents have been clear that most people don’t understand that impact, and these survey results, in addition to the opioid crisis, reflect the lack of available treatment options. Our mission is to change that.”
85.5 percent of patients reported feeling that people do not understand that chronic pain diminishes their quality of life.
“As long as a person with chronic pain appears relatively normal, is mobile and can still function, most everyone assumes we have the same quality of life as healthy people,” an anonymous respondent wrote. “But chronic pain can be completely disabling and can totally affect how you are able to perform your day to day activities. It’s an invisible disease.”
A total of 5,625 of the NFCPA’s constituents responded to the fibromyalgia pain impact survey published in an e-newsletter and on social media on Dec. 13, 2016.
Download the Survey Results