The need for more pain management options has perhaps never been greater or more urgent—with more than 51.6 million Americans living with chronic pain and 17.1 million experiencing high-impact chronic pain. Yet despite the enormous disease burden of chronic pain, pain remains a vastly underfunded therapeutic area relative to its prevalence and impact. Research, treatment options, and support for those affected individuals still lag behind other major diseases. 

September is Pain Awareness Month, and this year, the U.S. Pain Foundation initiative, #PainTrials, will highlight current pain research efforts — including those being conducted through the National Institutes of Health’s Helping to End Addiction Long-term® (HEAL) Initiative — and spotlight the need for more pain research to improve outcomes for millions of Americans.

An unmet need 
Between March 29 to April 12, 2022, the U.S. Pain Foundation conducted a survey with 2,275 individuals with chronic pain responding. The data revealed a troubling unmet need. 

79% take prescription medications for their pain, and a large majority (77%) reported that prescription medications are the most helpful treatments for their pain. A staggering 99% of respondents said that pain has restricted their ability to engage in routine daily activities, while 71% considered themselves disabled by pain. 

The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that chronic pain is poorly managed with the armament of medication available today, even though it is the best treatment we have. People need more options to manage their pain. This can only be achieved through research. 

Looking ahead this September

This month, we plan to convey the importance and real-life impact research has on individuals living with pain in a variety of ways. The landscape of pain research starts with early exploration of new therapeutics at the molecular level, progressing to clinical trials that allow individuals to take part in a new treatment’s approval process. It is only through concentrated research that new options for pain have the opportunity to reach the market.

Through collaborations with the NIH HEAL Initiative and the Humana Neighborhood Center, our goal is to provide much-needed information and opportunities to connect and get involved. During Pain Awareness Month, we will be sharing:

  • A different statistic or fact on our social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). 
  • Weekly articles to be published on uspainfoundation.org focusing on types of research, the ins and outs of clinical trials, the impact of chronic pain in America, the efforts of the HEAL Initiative, research surrounding acute pain, and more.
  • Three webinars throughout the month with presenters including Rebecca G. Baker, Ph.D., Director of the NIH HEAL Initiative®, in the Office of the Director, NIH; prominent NIH researchers; clinical trial experts; and individuals with pain.
  • An infographic on understanding clinical trials.
  • Four Health Hack events, offered in partnership with the Humana Neighborhood Center.
  • Inclusion of NIH researchers in several U.S. Pain Foundation state support group meetings.
  • In-person patient education events at Humana Neighborhood Center locations in Las Vegas.
  • Opportunities for individuals living with pain to share their experiences on social media.

Focus on research is vital
As we delve into the different facets of pain research, we hope to increase awareness that chronic pain is a disease in and of itself that must be addressed and properly treated, and spotlight the need for more pain research. This campaign will emphasize the ways in which research promotes greater understanding of chronic pain and, subsequently, improved health outcomes.

We also will inform individuals living with pain about the various types of pain research that are being conducted and share ways in which they can contribute to the landscape of chronic pain treatment. We will offer practical information for patients about how they can get involved with clinical trials, the questions they should be asking, and why participation in research is important.

It’s time to look at #PainTrials

To learn more about the U.S. Pain Foundation’s Pain Awareness Month initiative, click here

Our 2023 Pain Awareness Month campaign is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Lilly. 

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U.S. Pain Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to serving those who live with conditions that cause chronic pain, as well as their caregivers and care providers. Learn more.

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Telephone: 800.910.2462
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