September is Pain Awareness Month


Each September, the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) observes Pain Awareness Month in an effort to raise awareness about the 100 million Americans suffering from chronic pain. The ACPA is committed to raising awareness through mass media, public forums and other sources so that chronic pain may be readily recognized, better understood without the traditional stigma attached, and more fittingly treated and managed.

So what exactly is chronic pain? It is a persistent pain for weeks, months or even years beyond the usual recovery period for an injury or illness, and is sometimes due to a chronic condition. There may have been an initial mishap such as a strained back, serious infection or an ongoing cause of pain, like arthritis or cancer, but some people suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage. Many chronic pain conditions affect older adults.

Common chronic pain complaints include:

  • Headache
  • Low back pain
  • Cancer pain
  • Arthritis pain
  • Neurogenic pain

Since millions suffer from acute or chronic pain every year, the effects of pain exact a tremendous cost on our country in health care costs, rehabilitation and lost worker productivity, as well as the emotional and financial burden it places on patients and their families. The costs of unrelieved pain can result in longer hospital stays, increased rates of re-hospitalization, increased outpatient visits and decreased ability to function fully, leading to lost income and insurance coverage.

For this reason, the ACPA is striving to create a greater understanding among health care professionals, individuals and families who are struggling with pain management, the business community, legislators, and the general public that pain is a serious public health issue, believed to cost society at $560-$635 billion annually. This amount is equal to approximately $2,000 for every person living in the United States.

To learn more about what the ACPA is doing to raise awareness about chronic pain and how you can get involved, please visit

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