A new draft report from a federal task force of nearly 30 experts in the field of medicine and pain management is out. It reports that chronic pain sufferers often experience stigma about their condition; which can prevent them from receiving the treatment they need.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that the Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force (Task Force) was formed in response to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016. Its goal was to identify gaps or inconsistencies in how patients with chronic and acute pain are cared for. As well as making recommendations regarding any updates or changes which may be needed.

After years of conducting exhaustive studies, the Task Force submitted its findings to Congress in early January 2019. In addition to recommending a patient centered, multidisciplinary approach to treating chronic pain, the advisory committee reported that overcoming the stigma patients may feel about their condition plays a major role in providing successful treatment.

The Stigma Surrounding Chronic Pain

For patients experiencing chronic pain; being misunderstood or perceived as ‘weak’ by friends, family members, and even those within the medical community is a major concern. As a result; they may try to deal with their pain on the own, rather than seeking treatment for their condition. “Patients with chronic pain due may try to ‘tough it out’ or suffer in silence,” says Dr. Jason Sparks of Spine & Orthopedic Specialists Tulsa. “Unfortunately, this only makes matters worse and can have a serious impact on both their physical and emotional health.”

When dealing with conditions such as inflammatory diseases and musculoskeletal disorders, delaying treatment could cause serious health side effects.

According to the Task Force draft report, it also makes patients more susceptible to issues such as anxiety and depression. Along with an increased likelihood of sleep disorders, dietary problems, and an overall unhealthy lifestyle. In overcoming patient reluctance to seek treatment and the shame or embarrassment they may be experiencing, the Task Force advises medical providers to acknowledge and empathize with the stigma people with chronic pain often face, while urging overall better public education efforts.

Contact Us today to schedule a visit.