Saturday, November 17, 2012

Half of us with chronic pain do not seek help from a GP (UK)

Ten million of us are in chronic pain but only 53% get help from a GP, a study showed yesterday. Three quarters of those with the condition have suffered for years but 20% admitted they failed to see a doctor as they did not want to bother them. This was despite 47% feeling depressed due to their pain.

Experts warned sufferers failing to get their chronic pain checked out could be leaving more serious health problems - including cancer - undiagnosed. More than half said they “didn’t feel anything could be done” so it was “better to just put up with it”. Ten million Brit - and up to 25% of over-65s - live with some degree of chronic pain.

Chronic pain - defined as pain that has lasted over three months - can be caused by a number of conditions, most commonly spinal problems, arthritis and cancer, but also diabetes, migraines and autoimmune diseases. Ian Semmons, chairman of charity Action on Pain, yesterday said people suffering in silence should urgently “seek out help”. He said: “Many people tell me that chronic pain is dominating their life, affecting not only their social life and family time, but even their ability to hold down a job. “I would actively encourage people to seek out help - you may feel that there is little hope but it shouldn’t have to be like that. By asking for support and advice you will be making a positive step towards improving your life.” He added: “It can be so difficult having to live with pain and at times it is a real challenge to remain positive. "However, with fantastic help and support I was able to learn new ways of managing my pain better.”

A study of 1,000 people who suffer from chronic pain by Lloyds Pharmacy aimed to find out how people manage their pain and the impact it has on their life. The research discovered 55% were kept awake by their condition at night. The same percentage admitted struggling to carry out simple tasks like shopping and cleaning. Nitin Makadia, a pain expert at Lloyds Pharmacy, said: “Nearly one in seven of us suffer with chronic pain in the UK yet a worrying number of people clearly feel that they have nowhere to turn for support. “We know that often there’s no cure for chronic pain but there are ways you can manage it better and with regular ongoing support you can make positive steps to improve your overall wellbeing.”

Pharmacist Clare Kerr added: “The most important thing is to check that there are no underlying causes of the pain. Unfortunately there are a number of chronic conditions that cause pain.” “Pain can impact on people’s lives in many ways both physically and emotionally. Some people say that their pain affects their mobility or that it keeps them awake at night. Other people said that they struggle to carry out everyday tasks like shopping and cleaning.” “In some circumstances, people say that their chronic pain makes them feel depressed. If you are in pain, don’t suffer in silence. In the first instance, make sure you seek some advice from your pharmacist or doctor. They will be able to check whether the reason for your pain requires further medical investigation.”

Source: Mirror UK 

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