Pain is one of the most common medical complaints, but despite its prevalence, many individuals still suffer with unrelieved or undertreated pain. This marketing research survey was designed to determine the physical, psychological, and economic impact pain has on the lives of individuals suffering with pain and to identify the unmet needs of patients who have taken opioid medications to treat their pain. In addition, the survey sought to address the challenges physicians face when treating patients with pain.
Pain sufferers were recruited through e-mail invitation to an Internet survey; 173,854 invitations were sent out, 22,018 people responded (12.7%), and 606 met the criteria for inclusion in the survey as pain sufferers. Of these, 359 people had moderate to moderately severe chronic pain and 247 people had moderate to moderately severe acute pain. Additionally, physicians currently treating pain were recruited through e-mail and postal mail invitations and 492 met eligibility criteria: 241 specialists (orthopedic or general surgeons, pain specialists or anesthesiologists), 125 primary care, and 126 emergency medicine physicians.
Results of this survey supported what many physicians observe in their practice and hear from their patients, that pain has a negative impact on daily activities in the majority of pain sufferers. Many chronic pain sufferers reported that pain had deleterious effects on their mental health, employment status, sleep, and personal relationships.
The impact of pain on patient quality of life and the unmet needs in pain management were recognized by the majority of physicians surveyed, with inadequate pain control, end-of-dose pain, and side effects associated with increased dosing reported as negative factors influencing their choice of pain medication.
In conclusion, effective communication between physicians and patients is encouraged to not only improve overall pain management but also to establish shared treatment goals with functional outcomes.