Understanding Pain

Over 50 million Americans, including men, women and children, suffer from chronic pain, which interferes with their daily lives. 51% report pain adversely affects their employment, through decreased productivity and their ability to put in a full day’s work - even their opportunity for advancement. Over half report pain adversely affects their personal lives or activities of daily living, while 3/4 report pain affects their ability to exercise as well as quality of sleep. And lastly, over 2/3 say pain causes irritable behavior, stress and a decrease in desires and motivation. 92% of people experiencing pain seek medical advice.

Until recently, pain was considered a symptom of disease or condition - even a natural part of aging, therefore, most pain goes under-treated, improperly treated or possibly untreated. That’s because most healthcare professionals have been trained in the treatment of a disease or condition, not in its management. Even so, people are constantly seeking methods to reduce pain. 53% take prescription medications, while 55% try an over-the-counter solution. However, 86% of these people experience some type of side effect from medication - drowsiness and upset stomach being the greatest complaints. Therefore, 61%, predominately prescription-medication users, do not take the medicine as directed.

Pain is subjective in nature and highly individual from person to person. There are no absolute ways to quantify pain. Diagnostic testing, x-rays, MRI’s, range of motion testing, etc., are usually able to produces the likely culprits of the pain, but they cannot distinguish the amount of pain you may experience.


Rating your pain levels from “0”, being no pain to “10” being the most excruciating pain you’ve ever experienced, are also very helpful in quantifying and treating pain, but the fact remains: a rating of a “5” on a pain scale does not mean the same thing for each person, even though they may suffer from the same ailment. Therefore, pain scales are helpful to assess an individual’s pain and cannot be compared with others.

     © 2014                        Center for Pain Medicine - Shawnee Mission Medical Center - 7315 East Frontage Road, Suite 140 - Shawnee Mission, KS 66204 - Tel: (913) 676-2370