Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women

When I first read the title 'The Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women', I chuckled.  Not because pain is funny- it certainly isn't, but because of the image that came to my mind.  I imagined a rally of people carrying signs that read  'END CHRONIC PAIN' sort of akin to a rally of people carrying signs that read 'END THE WAR'. 

The campaign is not literally to end chronic pain, that is, unfortunately, not possible with current medical knowledge.  That, right there, is one of the main points of this campaign.  To get more funding to study chronic pain issues, so that in the future, it will be possible to control and even end it. 

According to The Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women website, "As many as 50 million American women live with one or more neglected chronic pain conditions. Our goal is to put an end to the neglect, dismissal and discrimination faced by women suffering from chronic pain, thereby improving their quality of life and medical care."  They aim to raise awareness among policy makers, health care professionals and the public of the lack of scientific research as well as the poor quality of education health care providers receive on these chronic pain conditions. It is hard enough living with chronic pain without having to fight for treatment. 

The website goes on to state "Chronic pain is estimated to affect 25 percent of Americans and account for more than 20 percent of all physician office visits. Unfortunately, women bear the brunt of chronic pain conditions. The six conditions targeted by the Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women – chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, temporomandibular disorders and vulvodynia – either solely affect women, or affect women at least four times more often than men."  That's alot of people affected, and the cost in lost work time, lost wages, lost quality of life, etc. is astronomical. 

The campaign asks people to contact their representative in Congress, and ask them to act on the policy recommendations.  They even have a listing of congressmen/women in case you don't know yours, and a sample letter template to use, so you don't have to figure it out yourself.  I will give you one suggestion I got from a senator a few years ago.  If they receive form letters, they just count them.  If you personalize your letter, with info about how it affects you, for example, they will read it more carefully and often send a personal response.
I know it is hard to take action like this when you are in pain, or have fatigue.  It is to our benefit that all of us get involved by making a phone call, or sending a letter. The website also includes a list of resources to help people with chronic pain cope.

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