“Women are likely to be treated less aggressively until they prove that they are as sick as male patients.”
(2011) Women’s Chronic Pain Misdiagnosed, Undertreated, Dismissed
Women make up the vast majority of the nation’s 116 million chronic pain sufferers, yet doctors frequently dismiss their complaints as all in their heads, sending them on years-long searches for relief, a patient told senators today.
Although studies have observed women’s chronic pain is more frequent, more severe and longer-lasting than men’s, many women still are told “their problem isn’t real. Your pain doesn’t exist, you must be imagining this,” Christin Veasley testified…
She was among five witnesses appearing at a Capitol Hill hearing on “Pain in America: Exploring Challenges to Relief,” called by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
The hearing followed publication last year of an Institute of Medicine report that included recommendations for improving diagnosis, treatment and research into chronic pain, as well as boosting health professionals’ recognition of both the problem and its toll.
Worse still, treatments don’t “fully alleviate Americans’ pain,” said Dr. Philip A. Pizzo, dean of Stanford University medical school and chairman of the IOM committee that released its chronic pain report last year. Among its findings: “pain management is a moral imperative,” and “chronic pain can be a disease in itself.”
Pizzo also noted that the figure of 116 million U.S. chronic pain sufferers is an underestimate, because it excludes children, the military, and residents of nursing homes and chronic care institutions…
The IOM’s estimate of 116 million chronic pain sufferers has been revised down, I believe by the IOM committee itself. Considering it was an underestimate to begin with, I’m guessing the IOM was pressured into revising its conclusions. I’ve seen new estimates at 40 or 50 million, but no one can come up with an accurate number.
Part of the problem is how chronic pain is defined — as any pain lasting for over 3 months. Well, there are so many things than can cause pain lasting longer than 3 months, from an ear infection to a broken bone. From year-round allergies to headaches caused by wearing glasses or dentures. Are all of these examples of chronic pain?
If you suffer from any of these causes of pain, then it’s likely that the pain will be an ongoing issue lasting longer than 3 months. Even a broken bone can ache for the rest of your life, but that kind of pain is usually not constant.
Is chronic pain always constant? Or can it also be defined as daily or weekly?
It’s been almost 6 six years since the “Pain in America” senate hearing, and it’s very sad to see that no progress has been made. In fact, the drug war has just made everything worse. We’re on our own, people.