Why would an article with such an esoteric title be of interest, of importance and relevancy to more than just Pain Management health care workers. Shouldn’t such an article be of more importance and interest in a Professional Journal than it would be to the educated general populous. What is behind the idea of publishing it on the Internet, situated so that many more than just medical minds would come across it by happenstance.
A large percentage of the general population is thought to either listen to, watch, or read any of the many ways the News Media bombards us with what their financial backers’ opinions would have us know. Therefore we must assume that this same population should, by now, understand how the median age of death, in our country as in others, has been prolonged. We attribute this increasing life expectancy, over the previous few centuries, by all of the many scientific advances, by the formation of and stabilization of standardized-religion, and by the many laws of behavior, in-acted to prevent man’s destruction of his/her fellow man/woman.
For these and other reasons, the percentage of the population living over the age of 65 increases with every passing decade and century. At this point I hope that you can begin to better understand the importance of pain control in chronic non-cancer patients. Since the percentage of the population over 65 is getting larger with each passing decade, it is becoming more common place to know or to know of an individual requiring pain control for a chronic non-cancerous problem.
Breakthrough pain in cancer patients is associated with poor outcomes, a greater incidence of hospitalization, more difficult to treat pain syndromes, and, of course, the inevitable patient dissatisfaction with therapy. None of the previous characteristics are found, in general, amongst the non-cancerous patients.
Breakthrough pain in non-cancerous patients is known to be prevalent, severe, and it shares several characteristics with cancer patients, such as that it is typically rapid in onset and frequently encountered. Studies have shown that nearly three quarters of patients with non-cancer pain have significant episodes of breakthrough pain.
For the general population, is not important what the actual treatments are for pain control in chronic non-cancerous patients. What is important for everyone to understand is that a growing part of our general population will be suffering with chronic non-cancerous pain. We need to start to modify and/or drop, when appropriate, our misconceptions of individuals (young and old) that complain of chronic pain that proves to be non-cancerous in origin. We must study how individuals on narcotic therapy do when attempting to continue with accepted normal daily functions. Such functions would include work, play, and care-giving. I feel that we will be surprised how much of a normal life these individuals can live if given the chance.