August 27, 2015 – Widespread Pain
Anchor lead: The CDC has reported disturbing statistics on just how widespread chronic pain is, Elizabeth Tracey reports
One in ten people is in significant, constant pain daily, the CDC has reported recently, while the majority of adults report some type of pain in the last three months. How can alleviating pain be juxtaposed against our epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose? Mike Klag, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, says identifying the source of pain can help.
Klag: Musculoskeletal pain can often be improved with stretching and the right kind of exercise. We need to emphasize those. We need to recognize that every drug has risk and benefit, and a decision to prescribe them, or use them is based on that risk and benefit, so having good data about the risk and benefit would be important. There needs to be a judgment made for every patient about how severe is the pain, what’s the appropriate treatment, what’s the long term risk versus the long term benefit? :26
Klag says pharmaceutical companies and researchers are hard at work looking at how our brains process pain and potential places for intervention. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.