Chronic pain has become a leading cause of disability and a major public health problem. Healthcare providers are prescribing opioids at an alarming rate. Drug dependency and abuse are rampant, and opioid overdose claims 30,000 lives each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. A group of medical experts has teamed up with Phoenix-based communications professionals to turn the tide on chronic pain and the opioid epidemic, launching an innovative online medical community called The Pain Project. The Project emphasizes practical, safe, and effective strategies for self-managing pain and disseminates the latest neuroscience on how pain really works.
Beginning February 9, 2017, The Pain Project (www.thepainproject.com) will empower people – and caregivers - to play active roles in their own pain management and wellness without solely relying on medications or surgery. The program offers expert, compassionate advice to help people change their reactions and attitudes to pain.
“The use of opioids to manage chronic pain has grown at an astronomical rate and is now one of the most severe public health problems we face,” says Ben Bobrow, MD, chief medical officer for The Pain Project and a distinguished professor of emergency medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. “We now understand that chronic pain, which affects millions of Americans, is related to social, psychological and biological factors. The Pain Project catalyzes an essential shift towards self-reliance and intelligent pain management.”
Recent research indicates that the brain interprets chronic pain as a continuous threat. This interpretation leads to structural changes in the brain over time. These neurochemical changes result in increased pain, emotional trauma, and a feeling of helplessness. People suffering from chronic pain are capable of increasing function and restoring a sense of well-being.
The Pain Project’s advisory board includes notable neurologists, clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists. The Pain Project is led by Founder and President of RIESTER Advertising, Tim Riester. Riester will serve as the site’s business operations director and will be supported by his team of web and communications professionals. “The Pain Project is a rare opportunity to be involved in a far-reaching program that can be life-changing for so many people,” said Riester. “It’s one of the finest public service projects we’ve ever been involved with, and we look forward to helping many people live happier and healthier lives.”
Chronic Pain Statistics (U.S.):
- 37 percent of adults live with knee, shoulder, or hip pain that adversely affects their daily lives/li>
- 16 percent experience regular headaches
- As much as 40 percent of patients with migraine headaches also experience depression
- 28 percent live with lower back pain and 15 percent have chronic neck pain
- Between 20-35% of children have some form of chronic pain
- Suicide among people suffering from chronic pain increased from 4,000 in 1999 to 13,800 in 2006
“The current approach to pain management has inadvertently spawned a new and lethal public health crisis related to opioid pain medications,” says Dr. Bobrow. “The cycle can be greatly diminished if the pain sufferers and their caregivers understand how to mitigate the pain on their own.”
5 Tips for managing chronic pain:
- Understand your pain and its triggers - This can give you a measure of control over the pain and helps healing.
- Change negative thoughts – Changing negative thoughts, especially fear, into positive thoughts. This can change your perspective on life and decrease pain.
- Stay active – Decreased activity due to fear of injury and pain inhibits healing. Pain is reduced, functioning increased, and surgery delayed when people do daily exercise.
- Be hopeful – Hope reduces stress, negativity, anxiety, and fear, all of which perpetuate pain. Hope promotes healthy behavior, which in turn helps the body heal.
- Lean on others – Millions of people have similar situations. We heal best in communities so engage in yours. Your struggles will inspire and support others.