1. How many people are
affected by pain the UK?
Almost 10 million Britons suffer pain almost daily resulting in
a major impact on their quality of life and more days off work.
2. How many days are
lost at work due to pain related problems
A survey by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Endometriosis showed
that on average women with this condition lose 55 days from work
per annum. The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society estimate that
9.4 million working days are lost through Rheumatoid Arthritis,
which is a painful condition. The TUC reported that British businesses
lose an estimated 4.9 million days to employee absenteeism through
work related back pain - with the North East suffering more than
most, with 2 people in every hundred having to cope with the condition.
With each affected employee taking an average of 19 days off work
this is clearly a problem that needs to be addressed. These surveys
show that this is an enormous problem but there does not appear
to be an accurate measure of the total burden to industry of chronic
3. How many people lose their job because of
pain related illness?
This is not known, and there appears to be
no statistics for this.
4. How much does it cost the exchequer in disability
The exact cost of chronic pain is unknown.
The cost of back pain to the exchequer is estimated to be in the
region of £5billion per annum. There are many people with
pain who are not able to work who are not covered by this or by
allowances, such as those women who are not working but are maintained
by their partner, or those who have taken early retirement on the
grounds of ill health. The total cost of pain to the economy in
terms of people removed from the workplace because of chronic pain
is unknown. The only estimate is from the fact that 2.7 million
people are on incapacity benefit, and this is probably an underestimation
of the total number of people not working for the reasons described
5. How much does it cost the NHS in treatment
The cost to the NHS of treating chronic pain
is not known. Recent studies have demonstrated that the cost of
adolescent pain is nearly £4billion per annum alone, calculated
at an average of £8000 per teenager. In 1993 the cost of back
pain to the NHS was estimated at nearly £500,000.
6. Does gender affect your threshold on your
ability to deal with pain?
There is a growing body of evidence to show
that, contrary to popular belief, the pain threshold in women is
less than that of men.
7. What is the definition
of Acute Pain?
Acute pain is short-term pain of less than
twelve weeks duration.
8. What is the definition of Chronic/persistent
Chronic pain is continuous, long-term pain
of more than 12 weeks or after the time that healing would have
been thought to have occurred in pain after trauma or surgery.
9. What is the definition of Neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain is pain initiated or caused
by a primary lesion or dysfunction in the peripheral or central
nervous system. For example pain following shingles, or an amputation,
or spinal cord trauma. Pain that occurs in diabetics or in patients
with multiple sclerosis. Can also be neuropathic.
10. Are alternative medicines such as
acupuncture or hypnosis an effective pain relief?
Many complementary therapies have
been found to be useful as part of an overall pain management regime.
Hypnotherapy,including self hypnosis can be used as part of a relaxation
technique. Acupuncture and acupressure may be helpful in the management
of chronic headaches, migraine and muscle pain syndromes. Homoeopathy
is generally being shown to be of no benefit. There are a large
number of other therapies which are being offered at a variety of
costs. Many of them have not been proven to be of any benefit, and
the majority of these have not been subjected to clinical trials
to show whether or not there is any benefit. It is important to
tell your doctor if you are using any form of herbal medicines as
these may interact with other prescribed drugs. It is important
to remember that when using natural remedies, natural does not mean