Chronic Pain Campaign Raises Awareness Of Painkiller Addiction

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The Law Of... treating chronic pain

An MP, alongside a leading chronic pain organisation and an online social health community, has launched a campaign to raise awareness of overusing pain killers to treat chronic pain conditions.

The Law Of... treating chronic pain

In an attempt to establish how chronic pain sufferers manage their ailments, John Cryer MP and the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition, in partnership with talkhealth, have launched a patient medication survey.

Responding to the survey, Melanie Burden, Head of General Personal Injury at Simpson Millar, explains how the debilitating nature of chronic pain means sufferers often seek any form of treatment, even if it may not be the most beneficial.

Painkiller Addiction

Figures estimate that 28 million British people across the United Kingdom suffer from chronic pain conditions, with 8 million of sufferers reporting that their condition is moderately to severely disabling.

Concerns of over-usage of over-the-counter opioid painkillers have arisen after a report published last month (September 2016) showed that 40% of British adults had consumed opioid-based painkillers for 3 consecutive days or longer – this directly goes against guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The same report highlighted that 64% of those surveyed had taken over-the-counter painkillers, but half of those were unaware that some of these tablets may contain potentially addictive opioids. 41% of those who took part in the study admitted that they would not be able to spot the signs or symptoms of addiction.

Numerous stories have arisen detailing how patients are becoming increasingly reliant on powerful painkillers, such as co-codamol, tramadol, and fentanyl, and there are now concerns that continued prescriptions for these powerful painkillers could turn chronic pain sufferers into addicts.

Treating Chronic Pain

The survey launched by the CPPC, talkhealth, and John Cryer MP seeks to consult chronic pain sufferers about what sort of medication they are using, how their GP assists them with managing their pain, and whether there is a regular review of the medication they are taking.

Explaining his role in the campaign, John Cryer MP said in a statement:

"There is a great deal of work to be done in order to ensure we as patients receive advice on our best treatment options, enabling us to return to a life no longer gripped by opioid addiction."

"I will be working with the CPPC to raise these serious concerns in Parliament and to work with local GPs, NICE, and Department of Health to improve patient education and awareness surrounding the risks of opioid addiction. With the aim to increase the number of people suffering from chronic pain who receive an annual check (both physical and mental), as well as a care plan to help combat the day-to-day problems they face."

The survey is open until the end of November, at which time the CPPC will be able to evaluate the responses and gauge how chronic pain sufferers manage their condition.

Getting Help For Chronic Pain

Chronic pain sufferers can experience serious psychological and physical complications, as the struggle of being in constant pain can cause mental health problems.

Due to the debilitating nature of chronic pain conditions, management of symptoms is crucial for the prognosis of patients.

There have been a number of alternative medicines, treatments, and management schemes that are alleged to help chronic pain sufferers. A recent TV documentary showed a doctor trying to stop repeat prescriptions for a chronic pain sufferer, who took up daily exercise as a management technique for her chronic shoulder pain.

Explaining the debilitating nature of chronic pain, and the dangers of medicating the condition, Melanie said:

"Chronic pain sufferers often feel like it is impossible to manage their pain and can fall into a medication trap where they rely on painkillers to temporarily manage their pain throughout the day."

"This survey by the CPPC and John Cryer MP should give us a greater insight into chronic pain management, but I do worry that the results will show that chronic pain sufferers are left on repeat prescriptions for too long."

"By its very nature, chronic pain is incurable, meaning sufferers need to focus on managing their condition; relying on painkillers to treat pain intermittently throughout the day is a dangerous technique that could see sufferers build up a tolerance to painkillers and increase their dosage to dangerous levels."

"There have been various studies that have looked at non-medicated management for chronic pain and we usually advise clients to explore these options to see whether it helps their condition."

"If you suffer from chronic pain as a result of an accident that was not your fault, a compensation claim can help secure the best possible treatment for you and can ensure that you can manage your condition without the need for potentially addictive medication."


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