TORONTO, April 19, 2012 /CNW/ - As our soldiers return home from Afghanistan, many will be requiring long term care to manage injuries sustained while on tour. Modern military medicine has led to an increased survival rate in combat zones. This is related to high tech body armour and improved delivery of battlefield medicine. Improved survival leads to increased complexity in managing pain both on and off the battlefield. Many servicemen and women still struggle with the treatment of their injuries once home. With the mission in Afghanistan complete, there have been over 2,000 sustained injuries since 2002, many of which are life changing, irreversible and result in chronic pain.i
While Canadians can wait up to five years to seek treatment from pain specialists and those living in remote communities have no access to pain care, members of the military face additional challenges. "Many soldiers are reluctant to report injuries or discuss conditions that can't physically be seen, like chronic pain," said Master Corporal Patrick Kelly, former Canadian Forces Aviation Systems Technician. "There is a fear any medical condition could restrict duty, impact promotion or even potentially lead to discharge from the service. I would personally go to work hurt because I was afraid to shed light on my chronic pain."
The US Army Pain Management Task Force has identified that the tough it out, no pain no gain philosophy needed in the heat of battle can actually have an adverse impact on every aspect of a warriors recovery and rehabilitation and recommends that pain must be recognized as a disease process. This task force has identified the need to "synchronize a culture of pain awareness" and education and proactive intervention.ii Canadian warriors deserve the same excellent level of care.
The Canadian Pain Society, in conjunction with the Canadian Pain Coalition, are requesting the federal government implement a National Pain Strategy to address the gap that exists in pain management and to minimize its burden on Canadians living with pain, their families and society. The National Pain Strategy will help to ensure that all doctors both military and civilian receive appropriate training in pain management, are aware of alternative treatment options and ensure that all Canadians have equal access to the medical attention they require. At present veterinarians receive five times more training in pain management than people doctors. It's time for Canadians to rise up against pain. Canadians should visit www.canadianpainsummit2012.ca.
"There are many non drug treatments that can help people suffering with pain but because of the lack of access to these treatments both veterans and civilians alike are frequently offered opioids as the only means to treat pain when other medication and non-medication options should be available," says Dr. Mary Lynch, a pain specialist from the Canadian Pain Society. "Pain in Canada is under recognized and poorly treated." Currently, one in five Canadians suffer from chronic pain,iii yet the total funding for pain research is only 0.25 per cent of that spent on health research,iv v this severely limits funding needed to answer questions critical to the better management of pain.
Chronic pain is associated with the worst quality of life when compared to other chronic conditions such as heart and lung disease. We owe it to our servicemen and women to give them the best that medicine has to offer not only on the battlefield but also after they have returned home.
About the National Pain Strategy
The first-ever Canadian Pain Summit will take place in Ottawa on April 24th, 2012. It is essential that Canada take a leading role in proceeding with a national pain strategy and that pain patients are part of the solution. Canadians are urged to visit www.canadianpainsummit2012.ca and endorse the national pain strategy.
About the Canadian Pain Society
The Canadian Pain Society has been a chapter of the International Association for the Study of Pain since 1982. The aim of the CPS is to foster and encourage research on pain mechanisms and pain syndromes and to help improve the management of patients with acute and chronic pain by bringing together the basic scientists and health professionals of various disciplines and backgrounds who have an interest in pain research and management. www.canadianpainsociety.ca / www.twitter.com/canadianpain
About the Canadian Pain Coalition
The Canadian Pain Coalition (CPC) is THE National Voice of People with Pain. Incorporated in 2004 as a non-profit organization, the CPC is a partnership of pain consumer groups, individuals, health professionals who care for people in pain and scientists studying better ways to treat pain. CPC promotes sustained improvement in the understanding, prevention, treatment and management of all types of pain in Canada. CPC accomplishes this through pain education, awareness activities and advocacy initiatives. CPC obtained the Senate Declaration of National Pain Awareness Week in 2004. www.canadianpaincoalition.ca
i Canadian Forces' Casualty Statistics (Afghanistan) Fact Sheet. FS 12.002 - February 1, 2012. http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=3695
ii Pain Management Task Force. Office of The Army Surgeon General. Final Report May 2010. Synchronize a Culture of Pain Awareness, Education, and Proactive Intervention. Section 4.4. Page 63.
iii Research funding for Pain in Canada. ME Lynch MD FRCP, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Donald Schopflocher PhD, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Paul Taenzer PhD, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta ,Caitlin Sinclair BSc, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
ivSchopflocher, D., R. Jovey, et al. (2011). "The Burden of Pain in Canada." Pain Res Manage: In Press.
v Moulin, D., A. J. Clark, et al. (2002). "Chronic pain in Canada, prevalence, treatment, impact and the role of opioid analgesia." Pain Res Manage 7: 179‐184.
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