(Review of a recent BBC article relating to chronic pain. Acupuncture and Chronic Pain.)
According to a recent article from the BBC, 1 in 4 people experience chronic pain, or 25% of the population.
That was from an exclusive survey of 4000 people
Chronic pain is described as any pain that lasts longer than 3 months, often with no identifiable reason.
If there is no problem identified, how can patients find a solution?
Given that western medicine relies heavily on accurate diagnostics to provide the appropriate treatment, how can they offer a solution for which they don’t know a cause?
We can see the real impacts in quality of life for people. The mental energy required to deal with the constant and unrelenting distraction that is pain. Pain clouds our thoughts, affects how we move, interact with people, our energy and even our ability to earn a living.
Chronic pain is also unique to each individual, in that everyone has their own psychological ways of managing and living with pain.
For some, it is something that we “just have to deal with” and for others it’s a physiological symptom of the body responding in some way to something that needs change. People identify with how they felt before they had pain.
As one person put in the article, “I feel I’ve lost every part of my life. I’ve lost me.”
In some cases, pain can also be something that people identify as a part of themselves. And on that level, is where I feel that chronic pain becomes a real mountain to climb over.
We can use a certain amount of anecdotal evidence to say that anything practiced for long enough becomes easier to do. Does that go the same for pain? Does chronic pain become an issue because we have “learnt” it so well over the 3 months it takes to be classified as someone with chronic pain?
Either way, we are still left with a situation where, amidst an opioid epidemic, alternative options are required that aren’t necessarily pharmaceutical interventions. This is a situation where a land of pharmaceutical companies (primarily profit based enterprises) are left reeling at the thought of a loss in long term profits for shareholders, potentially researching other “safer” drugs to replace opioids.
But we know particularly in the UK, until that happens, Acupuncture has been a recommended pathway for chronic pain management. NICE advises that: “Acupuncture is recommended as an option for some people with chronic primary pain“
So in the face of many unknowns, patients left with no understanding (from a western medical perspective) of what is causing their pain, we can still move to alternative paradigms of medicine, such as the Acupuncture used within the Traditional Chinese Medicine framework, for answers and help.
At the end of the day, the patient doesn’t really care what fixes the problem, they just want it fixed.
Whether it’s Chinese Medicine, Voodoo, or the Hospital Setting, results speak for themselves, and the patient tells us what is working.
1: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-61309962 – Chronic Pain
2: https://www.lifehack.org/667495/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-a-habit – Breaking Habits