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The Future Management of Pain

A new study completed by National Institute of Health (NIH) researchers and published on 9/1/16 by Mayo Clinic Proceedings reveals research and supporting statistics for risk and claim management professionals’ to discuss with claimants and their medical teams.

The study explored several areas of chronic and debilitating pain including Low Back Pain, Fibromyalgia, Neck Pain, Knee Osteoarthritis, and Severe Headache and Migraine Pain. With over 126 million adults experiencing some pain in a given year, about one-third (40 million adults) have severe pain. In 2010 dollars, cost estimates for pain treatments have ranged from $560 Billion $635 Billion nationally.

Based on 2007 National Health Interview Survey data, the use of complementary health approaches for painful conditions accounted for $8.5 billion to manage back pain, $3.6 billion to manage neck pain, and $2.3 billion to manage arthritis. Substantially less is spent to treat other chronic health conditions such as depression ($1.1 billion), hypertension ($0.7 billion), diabetes ($0.3 billion), and cancer ($0.2 billion).

The NIH study examines the clinical trial evidence for the effectiveness and safety of several widely used approaches including acupuncture, manipulation, massage therapy, relaxation techniques including meditation, selected natural product supplements (chondroitin and glucosamine), tai chi, and yoga.

For claim professionals, these areas of treatment should be flagged for immediate review upon presentation of the claimant’s medical information. The professional may want to consider complete medical cost projections for all chronic pain cases to determine continued safety and efficacy within a complete treatment plan.
For a full reading of the study, please click here >>

Additionally, the NIH and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have produced and distributed the National Pain Strategy, a comprehensive population health-level strategy for pain management. The report is packed with information and insights about the best approaches to pain management, and should be considered for reading by anyone confronting chronic pain issues. For a copy of the report, please click here >>

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