Isn't it remarkable how much territory a single four letter word can rule? Chronic pain, acute pain, dull pain, acy pain, sharp pain, throbbing pain, burning pain, pounding pain, pain from trauma - hammer on thumb to pain from severe injury at work or a motor vehicle accident, post-op pain, nuisance pain, debilitating pain, disabling pain. I can go on but I'll save it for the Oriental Medicine diagnostic categories of pain.
Pain is extremely costly to a society. In the workplace, production decreases, work quality suffers because of a worker distracted by pain, employees cost more to insure. Many people become disabled which can mean financial disaster. Chronic pain is much more common than we may notice in day to day life. Most people rarely admit to having the pain or just how severe the pain is. These numbers may surprise you.
60 to 70 million Americans have chronic pain.
90% of Americans with chronic pain work while in pain.
Left unaddressed, each of these issues can result in severe consequences for the patient and loved ones. Several things prevent patients from avoiding the pitfalls of life with pain. Perhaps the most problematic is the widespread belief that one should not let pain "get in the way", that pain can be dealt with by pure force of will. This is true for some levels of pain severity but it requires much more physical and mental energy than life without pain.
Ironically, for the many people in the middle ground of pain severity there are many ways to ease the struggle.