Majority of sufferers have never received a pain management plan
TORONTO, Nov. 7, 2011 /CNW/ - While one-in-four Canadians live with
chronic low back pain1, a new survey commissioned by Eli Lilly Canada, reveals that men and
women may differ when it comes to how the pain impacts their daily
Of those Canadians who rated their back pain as five or higher (on a
scale of one to 10), most day-to-day activities such as sleep, sex,
concentration, and enjoyment of life appear to impact women slightly
more than men when it comes to chronic low back pain.1 Most importantly, what is common to both genders is that the majority of
patients (62 per cent) who have been diagnosed with chronic low back
pain have never received a pain management plan to help them deal with
"It comes as no surprise that so many Canadians are suffering from
chronic low back pain and that men and women are feeling the impact on
their quality of life in various ways," says Dr. Gordon Ko, medical
pain specialist and assistant professor, University of Toronto,
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. "What is most concerning is the
majority of people diagnosed with chronic low back pain state they have
not received a pain management plan from their doctor. This tells me
that many Canadians are not receiving appropriate direction and may be
What is chronic low back pain?
Chronic low back pain is usually described as persistent, deep, aching,
dull or burning pain in the area of the lower back or nagging
discomfort that may travel down the legs, and lasts longer than three
months.2 Pain is often worse while sitting in one position or when bending over,
lifting, or doing physically demanding work.2 Low back pain can also be caused in part by the aging process, and also
as a result of sedentary life styles with too little (sometimes
punctuated by too much) exercise.3
Of those survey respondents who suffer from chronic low back pain, 30
per cent rate the intensity of their pain as moderate to severe,1 (based on survey respondents who rated their back pain between seven and
10, on a scale from one to 10) and the pain may impact the quality of
life of female respondents to a greater degree than male sufferers.1
Chronic low back pain by the sexes?
Sixty-four per cent of women report that their chronic low back pain
affects their ability to enjoy life, versus 56 per cent of men, with
chronic low back pain having a similar impact on sleeping patterns (65
per cent of women vs. 57 per cent of men), and sex lives (39 per cent
women vs. 33 per cent men).1 While these numbers do not significantly indicate a gender difference
in terms of back pain impact, they may suggest a trend towards women
perceiving pain differently. What is significant is that 71 per cent of
female respondents say their back pain impacts their ability to do
household chores, compared to only 50 per cent of men.1
According to Dr. Gordon Ko, "women often report more frequent and
intense pain, which may have a biological basis."
Amelia Usher, a married mother of three, knows this reality quite well.
Since injuring her back years ago, her life has been turned upside down
and according to her, even more so than the men she has encountered who
have experienced the same injury. "When I am at the clinic, I often
have conversations with others who have chronic low back pain and have
the impression that my quality of life has been impacted more
negatively than men when it comes to some of the most important things
in life - sleep, taking care of the household and just day to day
While most Canadians experience chronic low back pain as a result of
injury (31 per cent) or their work (25 per cent),1 only 50 per cent of respondents tell their employer about their back
Plan to manage the pain
According to the survey, 62 per cent of people with chronic low back
pain who consulted a doctor, report that their physician has not
provided them with a pain management plan to help them deal with the
impact their chronic low back pain is having on their life, including
concerns and issues about treatment,1 yet among this group, 61 per cent state that they would find this type
of discussion helpful.1
Lynn Cooper from The Canadian Pain Coalition, a partnership of pain
consumer groups, health professionals and scientists studying better
ways of treating pain, says this finding is not surprising.
"Chronic pain continues to be a challenging phenomenon for people with
pain and clinicians to address," says Lynn Cooper, President of the
Canadian Pain Coalition. "That's why we need to work towards a model
of improved patient-physician decision making and encourage
conversations that are mindful of a patient's concerns and beliefs.
Developing a pain management plan that involves multidisciplinary pain
management and lifestyle changes is a step in the right direction that
should produce better outcomes for all people with pain."
"With many Canadians concerned about the potential addictive nature of
pain medications (60 per cent of those surveyed)1, it's important to know that there are a variety of treatment options
available to manage chronic low back pain, so there's no need to just
grin and bear it," says Dr. Ko.
"We now have a number of treatment options to manage chronic low back
pain, including over-the-counter analgesics, opioids and new
prescription non-opioid medications, as well as complementary options
like acupuncture, platelet injections, meditation and biofeedback,"
says Dr. Ko. "Your doctor can work with you to determine which
treatment options are most appropriate for you."
Sufferers who suspect they may have chronic low back pain should speak
to a doctor to obtain a formal diagnosis and obtain a comprehensive
pain management plan. It is possible to live a better life despite
chronic low back pain.
Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing
portfolio of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products
by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and
from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations.
Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Lilly provides answers -
through medicines and information - for some of the world's most urgent
medical needs. Eli Lilly Canada, headquartered in Toronto, Ontario,
employs close to 500 people across the country. Additional information
about Eli Lilly Canada can be found at www.lilly.ca.
® Registered trademark owned by Eli Lilly and Company; used under license.
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About the poll: The poll, commissioned by Eli Lilly Canada Inc., was
conducted by Harris/Decima via teleVox, the company's telephone
omnibus, between May 12 and May 22, 2011. Results are based on a sample
of 311 Canadian adults who experience chronic low back pain and
describe their pain as 5 or higher on a scale of 1-10, accurate to
within +/- 5.6%, 19 times out of 20.
Statistics Canada. Back Pain. Available at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-619-m/2006003/4053542-eng.htm Last updated April 4, 2006.
National Institutes of Health. Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/backpain/detail_backpain.htm Last updated February 18, 2011. Accessed June 15, 2011.
SOURCE Eli Lilly Canada Inc.
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