Unrelieved Pain Continues To Burden Americans

"Pain remains one of the most common physical complaints upon a person’s admission into the healthcare system (Burton, Fanciullo, Beasley, & Fisch, 2007; Foley et al., 2005; Freburger et al., 2009; McCarberg, 2010; Peterlin, Rosso, Rapoport, & Scher, 2009; Schug & Chong, 2009; Weiss, Emanuel, Fairclough, & Emanuel, 2001). Pain is prevalent in cancer, especially near the end of life (Paice, 2010; Smith et al., 2010), and in other diseases and conditions such as HIV/AIDS (Breitbart & Cortes?Ladino, 2010; Tsao, Stein, & Dobalian, 2010) and sickle?cell anemia (American Pain Society, 1999; Ballas, 2010); indeed, persistent pain itself is increasingly being recognized as a disease (Institute of Medicine Committee on Advancing Pain Research, 2011). However, insufficient treatment attention often is given to appropriate pain relief, especially when pain is severe or prolonged. In extreme circumstances, pain can impair all aspects of life and sometimes contribute to a person’s wish for death (Fishman & Rathmell, 2010; Ilgen et al., 2013; Institute of Medicine Committee on Advancing Pain Research, 2011; Institute of Medicine National Cancer Policy Board, 2001; Wasan, Sullivan, & Clark, 2010). When pain relief is achieved, it can result in improved quality of living for people with prolonged pain and can decrease suffering for people at the end of life (Higginson & Evans, 2010)."


Pain & Policy Studies Group. Achieving Balance in Federal and State Pain Policy: A Guide to Evaluation (CY 2013). (University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center: Madison, WI, July 2014), p. 13.