Neck Pain Awareness – Can Spinal Health Month Help?

Chronic Neck PainOctober is Spinal Health Month and recent statistics show that neck pain is a significant contributor to a growing pain problem affecting millions of people each year. In a National Center of Health Statistics survey low back pain was the most common pain reported (27%) with neck pain suffered by 15% of people, the same percentage who experience severe headaches or migraine. Facial ache or pain was another common finding with 4% of people experiencing this phenomenon that is sometimes connected to cervical spinal problems. This survey did only ask about these four different types of pain however as they are thought the most common.

What Causes Pain?

Pain is usually a signal triggered by acute trauma, injury, or disease and can be a useful early warning sign that allows a patient to stop performing a certain action that could cause serious bodily harm. However, the complex signalling pathways involved in pain provide a number of opportunities for things to go wrong and pain to be triggered, or diminished, inappropriately. Receptors in the skin, organs, tissues, and nerves sense pressure, heat, cold, or other potentially damaging stimulus and send an electrical impulse to the nerve fibers and then the spinal cord. Patients with fibromyalgia are thought to have a heightened response to such signals which can cause them to experience severe pain when others would only sense light pressure or nothing of note. The signals sent to the spinal cord may make the journey up to the brain for interpretation but some take part in a feedback loop in the spinal cord itself. With chronic pain having developed into a major problem (more than 75million Americans report pain lasting more than 24hrs) the science of pain is a rich area of study.

low back, neck pain, migraine and face pain statistics

A Bigger Problems than Cancer, Heart Disease, and Diabetes

Pain affects more people than cancer, diabetes, and heart disease combined and is more common in women and low-income adults. The disparity in the experience of pain is reflected in the treatment of pain and there are concerns that women are more likely to have their pain dismissed as subjective than men whose suffering is seen as less histrionic and more worthy of therapy and intervention. A third of those who report experiencing pain say that it is disabling and adversely affects their quality of life. The economic impact of chronic pain is substantial as health care expenses combine with reduced productivity and income deficits to total an estimated $100 billion ($85.9 billion of which is attributed to low back pain alone). Arthritis costs are estimated at $128 billion and are the leading cause of disability in the US.

Arthritis and Neck Pain

Arthritis and neck pain may also be contributing to lost work days and healthcare costs under the guise of migraines, fatigue, and depression or other mental health issues as those with chronic pain experience emotional problems and mood disorders at higher levels than those free of such pain. Those with lower back pain were found to be four times as likely to suffer serious psychological distress compared to those without low back pain and such findings may be able to be extrapolated to those suffering other kinds of pain that can have an impact on energy levels, social activities, ability to work, family life, and sexual well-being.


By 2030 an estimated 67 million people will have been diagnosed with arthritis, many of these with cervical spondylitis or spondylosis and some with conditions such as cervical spinal stenosis leading to pain in the upper limbs, the neck, and the face. Cervical arthritis can also lead to neurogenic claudication that can affect the health of the thyroid gland, vocal cords, and even respiration as innervation of these areas may be compromised.

Treating Neck Pain

Jaw pain, migraine, and lower facial pain, all of which can be factors in temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ/TMD) are thought to affect more than 25 million people in the US, many of whom self-medicate, often inappropriately. Using over-the-counter remedies for pain may be fine for short periods but the long-term use of NSAIDs and other anti-inflammatories and analgesics can have profound effects on other aspects of health. There are also those who find little comfort in prescribed pain medication, or who become addicted to narcotic medications and the possibility of drug abuse connected to chronic pain reveals yet another problem affecting individuals, families, and society at large.

Accessing Treatment for Chronic Pain

The disparity in healthcare between people of different ethnicities is also a factor here as African-Americans and Hispanics are likely to be under-treated by some physicians and may find themselves turning to alternative sources of comfort, experiencing poorer employment prospects, and having things such as education and social mobility adversely affected by chronic pain. One study found that over 80% of African Americans and 80% of Hispanics waited until their pain levels reached 10/10 on a pain severity scale before accessing medical care. This reluctance to seek help for pain may be partly cultural but there is likely an element of learned reluctance following poor treatment in the past. Such findings may need to be taken into consideration when trying to tackle a number of social issues that are often attributed to race, social class, gender, and disability. Without addressing underlying chronic pain, including neck pain, as a factor in unemployment, psychological distress, and even drug addiction and alcoholism these problems may simply be considered intractable.

Spinal Health Month

The American Pain Foundation is campaigning to raise awareness of this huge health problem affecting millions directly each year and millions more indirectly. Chronic neck pain can cause significant psychological distress, frustrate parent’s wishing to play an active role in their childrens’ lives, cost employers huge amounts of money in lost productivity and extended health care costs, and cost the tax-payer more in the long-run through palliative care rather than preventative measures and education. Neck pain and associated symptoms such as migraine are not inconsequential but could be easily avoided in some cases; with these new figures on pain perhaps it is time for Spinal Health Month to be taken more seriously.


References

Portenoy, R, Ugarte C, Fuller I, Haas G. ”Population-based Survey of Pain in the United States: Differences Among White, African American, and Hispanic Subjects” Journal of Pain, Vol 5, Issue 6, 2004; pp 317-318

Hoffman DE, Tarzian AJ. The girl who cried pain: A bias against women in the treatment of pain.” J Law Med Ethics. 2001; 29: 13-27.

National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2006 With Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans. Hyattsville, MD: 68-71.

Anderson KO, Richman SP, Hurley J, Palos G, Valero V, Mendoza TR, Gning I, Cleeland CS. Cancer pain management among underserved minority outpatients: Perceived needs and barriers to optimal control. Cancer. 2002; 94(8): 2295-2304.

122 replies
  1. Emmett Guilbe
    Emmett Guilbe says:

    Hi I am so excited I found your web site, I really found you by mistake, while I was searching on Bing for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a incredible post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the excellent work.|

    Reply
  2. Kara Mabins
    Kara Mabins says:

    Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s tough to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and visual appearance. I must say you’ve done a superb job with this. In addition, the blog loads extremely fast for me on Firefox. Excellent Blog!|

    Reply
  3. Leda Teems
    Leda Teems says:

    A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you need to write more about this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but typically people do not discuss these subjects. To the next! All the best!!|

    Reply
  4. Caridad Lacerda
    Caridad Lacerda says:

    I really love your site.. Great colors & theme. Did you develop this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my very own website and would love to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Cheers!|

    Reply
  5. Roseann Sneary
    Roseann Sneary says:

    Have you ever considered publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog based on the same topics you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my audience would value your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an email.|

    Reply
  6. Allan Wacht
    Allan Wacht says:

    I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re incredible! Thanks!|

    Reply
  7. Johnathan Mereno
    Johnathan Mereno says:

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100 positive. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Appreciate it|

    Reply
  8. Otis Hanohano
    Otis Hanohano says:

    Hey there would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a tough time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!|

    Reply
  9. Roscoe Tanzman
    Roscoe Tanzman says:

    Hello! I’ve been reading your weblog for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic job!|

    Reply
  10. Clifford Yamakawa
    Clifford Yamakawa says:

    I do believe all of the ideas you’ve offered to your post. They are very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are too short for novices. May you please extend them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.|

    Reply
  11. Giuseppe Langi
    Giuseppe Langi says:

    Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a blog web site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept|

    Reply
  12. Kasi Wilbur
    Kasi Wilbur says:

    Thanks for a marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will come back down the road. I want to encourage that you continue your great writing, have a nice afternoon!|

    Reply
  13. Antione Perine
    Antione Perine says:

    I blog quite often and I genuinely appreciate your information. This great article has really peaked my interest. I am going to take a note of your blog and keep checking for new information about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed too.|

    Reply
  14. Erasmo Harsin
    Erasmo Harsin says:

    Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and all. Nevertheless think about if you added some great photos or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this blog could undeniably be one of the very best in its niche. Superb blog!|

    Reply
  15. Sterling Yonkoske
    Sterling Yonkoske says:

    This design is wicked! You most certainly know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!|

    Reply
  16. Wilton Wyble
    Wilton Wyble says:

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your site. You have some really good posts and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please blast me an e-mail if interested. Thanks!|

    Reply
  17. Millie Achane
    Millie Achane says:

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day. It’s always interesting to read through articles from other authors and use a little something from other web sites. |

    Reply
  18. Essie Baugus
    Essie Baugus says:

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.|

    Reply
  19. Roderick Endres
    Roderick Endres says:

    Usually I don’t read article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to check out and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, very great post.|

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. sbo says:

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More Info here on that Topic: painneck.com/neck-pain-awareness-spinal-health-month-help/ […]

  2. relx says:

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More Info here on that Topic: painneck.com/neck-pain-awareness-spinal-health-month-help/ […]

  3. … [Trackback]

    […] Info to that Topic: painneck.com/neck-pain-awareness-spinal-health-month-help/ […]

  4. … [Trackback]

    […] Find More Info here to that Topic: painneck.com/neck-pain-awareness-spinal-health-month-help/ […]

  5. […] pain is paramount in order to help the sufferer manage their levels of distress. Initiatives like Spinal Health Month are such an attempt to help those living with chronic neck pain and other spinal issues. By […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *