When patients with nonmalignant (non-cancerous) chronic pain were compared to patients not in pain using the SF-36, a widely used and validated tool for measuring quality of life, it was found that these patients had a remarkable severity of impairment in physical, social, and psychosocial wellbeing with the measures recorded being equally low or lower than scores seen in patients having severe cardiopulmonary disease or major depression.

Quality of Life

When patients with nonmalignant (non-cancerous) chronic pain were compared to patients not in pain using the SF-36, a widely used and validated tool for measuring quality of life, it was found that these patients had a remarkable severity of impairment in physical, social, and psychosocial wellbeing with the measures recorded being equally low or lower than scores seen in patients having severe cardiopulmonary disease or major depression.

Cognitive Functioning

The chronic pain group demonstrated greater impairment in long-term memory, selective attention, processing speed, and higher-level tasks performed by your brain.

Pain Sensitization

Pain Sensitization is a term used to describe the result of repeated, constant, or intense stimulation of neurons which can develop over time. When this occurs, the feeling of one’s pain becomes greater than normal, and opioid medications become less effective at providing pain relief.

Mortality

When compared to patients with no chronic pain, patients with localized chronic pain or widespread chronic pain have been shown to be at greater risk of all-cause mortality (a shorter lifespan due to a health-related issue).

Additionally, these changes in mortality are correlated with increased pain intensity, duration, and frequency of interference with daily activities in patients 50 years old or older.

Anxiety

Studies have shown that anxiety disorders are present at almost double the rate in chronic pain patients compared to the general public (35% vs 18%). Anxiety and pain often exist in combination and patients who suffer from both often have greater levels of chronic pain, and greater pain-related disabilities.

Association of Depression and Anxiety Alone and in Combination with Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain in Primary Care Patients.

Mood Instability

In recent years, researchers have begun to find a considerable overlap between chronic pain and depression. In fact, chronic pain is a critical risk factor for the development of depression and pain itself is also a symptom of depression. Unfortunately, their coexistence tends to further aggravated the severity of both disorders, making it critically important to identify and treat both aspects of mental and physical health in order to effectively improve pain relief.

Financial Stress

When combining healthcare cost estimates and lost productivity, the total annual economic burden of pain on society ranges from $560 to $635 billion.

Musculoskeletal pain in specific is a widespread problem among the working population. Lower back pain and other musculoskeletal complaints are known risk factors for poor work ability, increased absence from work, early retirement, and health-related job loss - all of which can contribute to the financial burdens that patients living with pain may face.

Although the opioid crisis is what often makes headlines, A SECOND AND SILENT PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS IS THAT OF UNTREATED CHRONIC PAIN. Although a direct comparison is hard to estimate, it is becoming increasingly more common for physicians to be unwilling to incorporate opioid analgesics in pain management, even in patients whom they would be clearly indicated.

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