Chronic pain has major impact on wellbeing

Even going on holidays can be difficult
  • Deborah Condon

Almost half of people who suffer with chronic pain find travelling and going on holiday difficult, new research has found.

According to the findings, 49% of people struggle with their holidays, yet many of those affected rarely or never seek help from their doctor.

Chronic or persistent pain is any type of pain that lasts longer than three months. It can be caused by a range of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes and cancer, or by other factors such as injuries or operations.

This latest research shows that headaches are the most common type of pain (55%), followed by lower back pain (51%). However, just over half of those affected only discuss their pain with a healthcare professional once a year or more, while around 20% never seek medical help.

The research also noted that while 52% of people with chronic pain always take their medication as instructed, around 33% take it, but then stop if the pain eases.

Meanwhile, some 49% of those affected have not had their treatment or medication reviewed in the last year.
According to Dr Paul Murphy, a consultant in pain medicine in St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin, chronic pain has a ‘serious impact' on people's lives and wellbeing.

"It requires an ongoing and evolving treatment plan that helps people move away from a persistent pain cycle, allowing them to enjoy things like travelling and holidays. Engaging in an active management plan can help patients reduce pain symptoms, improve mood and increase function.

"It is also crucial that people comply with any treatment prescribed by their care team to help manage their pain, be it medication, exercises or other treatment options like mindfulness and relaxation practices," he said.

The research was released by the ‘My Pain Feels Like...' campaign, a national campaign aimed at raising awareness of this issue and helping to support patients when they are communicating with healthcare professionals. For more information on this campaign, click here

 

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