Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chronic Pain - $100 Billion Validation

Recent estimates have put the costs of chronic pain to society at $100 billion in the United States alone. These costs are related to lost work days, as well as disability and health care expenses. That’s huge. And this doesn’t even count the tremendous costs (and suffering) to individuals and their families.

Health, disability, worker’s compensation insurers, as well as personal injury lawyers, complain that these costs are uncalled for. To me, such statistics demonstrate the reality of chronic pain and its costs to individuals and society. It takes big numbers for this serious health problem to be given the recognition it deserves.

In my experience, insurance companies are not in the habit of giving away money unless they have to. Chronic pain is now being recognized (if begrudgingly) by health, disability, and workers compensation insurers, as well as by the courts and government agencies.

It is still very difficult for individuals with long-term pain to get the level of care that they need. They still have to fight for income protection, when they cannot work. I believe that we are making progress, however. Chronic pain is a real, physical and in many cases disabling, health problem that deserves our recognition and attention - just like any other serious health problem.

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