Spreading the Word on Acute Pain

The Global Year Against Acute Pain has begun.

The Global Year Against Acute Pain launched this week (Oct. 18) and focuses attention on the widely under-assessed and undertreated pain that affects most people throughout their lives.

Sponsored by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), the 12-month campaign focuses on education for health care professional and government leaders as well as public awareness to help lessen the gap between existing knowledge and technology for acute pain control and current pain management practice.

Acute pain is the most frequent reason why patients visit an emergency department, and is also a common complaint in patients of family practice and internal medicine. Acute pain is often an aspect of illness, childbirth, sports injuries, and surgeries. Despite substantial advances in pain research in recent decades, inadequate acute pain control is still more the rule than the exception. If uncontrolled, experts warn that acute pain can result in extended hospital stays and evolve into chronic pain.

“We hope researchers, health care professionals, and government officials around the world join us as we work to improve education and raise awareness of acute pain management,” said IASP President Eija A. Kalso (Finland), in a press release.

The theme of the 2010-2011 campaign is “Anticipate, Assess, Alleviate,” and aims to improve acute pain management worldwide. Led by acute pain experts Drs. Edmund Neugebauer (Germany), Tim Brennan (US), Henrik Kehlet (Denmark), and Stephan Schug (Australia), and members of an IASP global task force, the initiative will mobilize IASP’s 7,500 members and 85 national chapters, and forge partnerships with other organizations.

The goal is to:

  • Disseminate information about acute pain worldwide
  • Educate pain researchers as well as health care professionals who see the issues associated with acute pain first-hand in their interactions with patients
  • Increase awareness of acute pain among government officials, members of the media, and the general public worldwide
  • Encourage government leaders, research institutions, and others to support policies that result in improved pain treatment for people with acute pain

IASP has published a series of fact sheets for clinicians and health care professionals that cover specific topics related to acute pain, including definition of the problem and impact of acute pain, benefits and barriers to better acute pain management, evidence supporting acute pain medicine, gaps between evidence and practice, mechanisms of acute pain, and ways to implement change. Fact sheets will be translated into multiple languages and available to download for free from the IASP website.

The organization plans on adding more fact sheets on various aspects of acute pain to the website as well. The association and its chapters will also sponsor meetings, symposia, pain camps, media interviews, publications, and other efforts to promote education on issues surrounding acute pain.

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Do you plan on taking part in the Global Year Against Acute Pain campaign? Do you feel acute pain is overlooked?