A new report says we need to rethink how we support the 15.5 million people in England living with chronic pain through a far-reaching holistic and comprehensive approach.
Unseen, Unequal and Unfair: Chronic Pain in England was published by PIF member Versus Arthritis.
It says chronic pain, defined as pain which has lasted more than 12 weeks despite treatment or medication, affects around 15.5 million people – a third of the population in England.
Of those, 5.5 million people have high-impact chronic pain – the most disabling form which means a person struggles to take part in daily activities.
Musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis, back and neck pain, and fibromyalgia are the most common cause of chronic pain and are the greatest cause of pain and disability.
The impact of chronic pain is unequally felt across different groups in society.
People with chronic pain were more likely to live in deprived areas.
Additionally, people are more likely to have chronic pain if they are from some minority ethnic groups, if they are women, or if they are older.
Recommendations for leaders on chronic pain
Versus Arthritis says we need to rethink how we support people with chronic pain through a far-reaching holistic and comprehensive approach.
The report calls on the leaders of local health and care service and public health to:
- Identify every person with high-impact pain and offer the support they need to live well.
- Reduce the health inequalities that worsen chronic pain for the most deprived, for women, and certain minority ethnic groups.
- Implement plans to address chronic pain, and regularly report on progress.