When we speak about management and treatment of chronic pain we need to start from the beginning. The simple reason for this is that, before you can start speaking about management or treatment, you need to know if someone has chronic pain. For that, you need a diagnosis.
The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines chronic pain as: ‘Pain that extends beyond the period of tissue healing and/or with low levels of identified pathology that are insufficient to explain the presence and/or extent of the pain and has persisted for more than three months.’
We also need to know the new classification of pain according to the latest International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), which outlines Chronic Primary Pain and Chronic Secondary Pain.
Chronic Secondary Pain is divided into six subcategories: chronic cancer-related pain, chronic post-surgical or post-traumatic pain, chronic neuropathic pain, chronic secondary headache or orofacial pain, chronic secondary visceral pain and chronic secondary musculoskeletal pain.
It continues to be difficult for a healthcare professional (HCP) to diagnose chronic pain, as there are no easy tools at hand to do so. Routine checks such as blood pressure, blood analysis, X-ray, or MRI scans do not show the existence of chronic pain. No simple test is available. Here we have This is the first hurdle: there are no criteria to establish the existence of chronic pain.
According to a survey conducted by Pain Alliance Europe (PAE) in 2017 on the diagnosis and treatment of 3,490 patients from 17 European countries1, this is a major problem. One in five mentioned that they had to wait for over 10 years to get a diagnosis. This time lag was counted as starting from the first time they saw an HCP. Almost seven in 10 had to wait over 12 months to be diagnosed. Read more here!