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Chronic pain stigma revealed in new report
Friday 25 May 2012
A report into New Zealanders suffering from chronic pain shows many feel others, including healthcare professionals, underestimate the extent of their suffering.
Commissioned by Pfizer New Zealand, the report showed that of the 1600 Kiwis surveyed, 12% said they suffered from chronic pain. Of those people, 65% feel other people often doubt the reality of their pain.
The report also showed 35% of the respondents agreed that chronic pain is used as an excuse for people who do not want to work.
Chronic pain is hard to treat because it is present among many illnesses including arthritis, cancer, fibromyalgia (a heightened and painful response to pressure) and multiple sclerosis, Arthritis New Zealand said.
"Every single person I've spoken to with chronic pain, at one point at least, has had someone doubt the reality of their pain," she said.
Gross said when she first started experiencing chronic pain, she could not understand why she kept injuring herself.
"I thought that everybody else was just dealing with life better than me."
Arthritis New Zealand Chief Executive Sandra Kirby said the results of the survey show the challenges people face living with chronic pain.
"There is a stigma attached to chronic pain, as it's an invisible disability. Pain can't be seen by the eye, so people often don't understand it's there.
"It has a severe impact on quality of life, stopping people from carrying out day-to-day tasks, holding down jobs, or even getting a good night's sleep."
Kirby said the results emphasise the urgent need for a national pain strategy to provide further education to patients and healthcare professionals.
The above, with comments, originally appeared here.
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