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      The Landscape of Chronic Pain: Broader Perspectives

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          Abstract

          Chronic pain is a global health concern. This special issue on matters related to chronic pain aims to draw on research and scholarly discourse from an eclectic mix of areas and perspectives. The purpose of this non-systematic topical review is to précis an assortment of contemporary topics related to chronic pain and its management to nurture debate about research, practice and health care policy. The review discusses the phenomenon of pain, the struggle that patients have trying to legitimize their pain to others, the utility of the acute–chronic dichotomy, and the burden of chronic pain on society. The review describes the introduction of chronic primary pain in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Disease, 11th Revision and discusses the importance of biopsychosocial approaches to manage pain, the consequences of overprescribing and shifts in service delivery in primary care settings. The second half of the review explores pain perception as a multisensory perceptual inference discussing how contexts, predictions and expectations contribute to the malleability of somatosensations including pain, and how this knowledge can inform the development of therapies and strategies to alleviate pain. Finally, the review explores chronic pain through an evolutionary lens by comparing modern urban lifestyles with genetic heritage that encodes physiology adapted to live in the Paleolithic era. I speculate that modern urban lifestyles may be painogenic in nature, worsening chronic pain in individuals and burdening society at the population level.

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          Most cited references 136

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          Self-management education: History, definition, outcomes, and mechanisms

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            Interpreting the clinical importance of group differences in chronic pain clinical trials: IMMPACT recommendations.

            An essential component of the interpretation of results of randomized clinical trials of treatments for chronic pain involves the determination of their clinical importance or meaningfulness. This involves two distinct processes--interpreting the clinical importance of individual patient improvements and the clinical importance of group differences--which are frequently misunderstood. In this article, we first describe the essential differences between the interpretation of the clinical importance of patient improvements and of group differences. We then discuss the factors to consider when evaluating the clinical importance of group differences, which include the results of responder analyses of the primary outcome measure, the treatment effect size compared to available therapies, analyses of secondary efficacy endpoints, the safety and tolerability of treatment, the rapidity of onset and durability of the treatment benefit, convenience, cost, limitations of existing treatments, and other factors. The clinical importance of individual patient improvements can be determined by assessing what patients themselves consider meaningful improvement using well-described methods. In contrast, the clinical meaningfulness of group differences must be determined by a multi-factorial evaluation of the benefits and risks of the treatment and of other available treatments for the condition in light of the primary goals of therapy. Such determinations must be conducted on a case-by-case basis, and are ideally informed by patients and their significant others, clinicians, researchers, statisticians, and representatives of society at large.
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              Survey of chronic pain in Europe: prevalence, impact on daily life, and treatment.

              This large scale computer-assisted telephone survey was undertaken to explore the prevalence, severity, treatment and impact of chronic pain in 15 European countries and Israel. Screening interviews identified respondents aged 18 years with chronic pain for in-depth interviews. 19% of 46,394 respondents willing to participate (refusal rate 46%) had suffered pain for 6 months, had experienced pain in the last month and several times during the last week. Their pain intensity was 5 on a 10-point Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) (1 = no pain, 10 = worst pain imaginable) during last episode of pain. In-depth interviews with 4839 respondents with chronic pain (about 300 per country) showed: 66% had moderate pain (NRS = 5-7), 34% had severe pain (NRS = 8-10), 46% had constant pain, 54% had intermittent pain. 59% had suffered with pain for two to 15 years, 21% had been diagnosed with depression because of their pain, 61% were less able or unable to work outside the home, 19% had lost their job and 13% had changed jobs because of their pain. 60% visited their doctor about their pain 2-9 times in the last six months. Only 2% were currently treated by a pain management specialist. One-third of the chronic pain sufferers were currently not being treated. Two-thirds used non-medication treatments, e.g,. massage (30%), physical therapy (21%), acupuncture (13%). Almost half were taking non-prescription analgesics; 'over the counter' (OTC) NSAIDs (55%), paracetamol (43%), weak opioids (13%). Two-thirds were taking prescription medicines: NSAIDs (44%), weak opioids (23%), paracetamol (18%), COX-2 inhibitors (1-36%), and strong opioids (5%). Forty percent had inadequate management of their pain. Interesting differences between countries were observed, possibly reflecting differences in cultural background and local traditions in managing chronic pain. Chronic pain of moderate to severe intensity occurs in 19% of adult Europeans, seriously affecting the quality of their social and working lives. Very few were managed by pain specialists and nearly half received inadequate pain management. Although differences were observed between the 16 countries, we have documented that chronic pain is a major health care problem in Europe that needs to be taken more seriously.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Medicina (Kaunas)
                medicina
                Medicina
                MDPI
                1010-660X
                1648-9144
                21 May 2019
                May 2019
                : 55
                : 5
                Affiliations
                Centre for Pain Research, School of Clinical and Applied Sciences, City Campus, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds LS1 3HE, UK; M.Johnson@ 123456leedsbeckett.ac.uk
                Article
                medicina-55-00182
                10.3390/medicina55050182
                6572619
                31117297
                © 2019 by the author.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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