The next time you tell someone that you’re in pain and they tell you that it’s your problem; explain to them how pain is everyone’s problem. In fact, chronic pain is a real social issue and finding lasting, effective treatment for pain is in all our interests.
The 6 biggest social costs of chronic pain (in no particular order) are:
- The costs of healthcare and medication. Well, duh! Right? These things cost a ton of money and while insurers and Medicare may be saddled with the short-term bill; in the long run those costs are shouldered by every American.
- Job absenteeism and workplace disruption. If someone is in too much pain to work, they’re going to stay at home. That’s going to have an economic impact for their employer and it’s going to affect their colleagues who are going to have to step in to minimize that person’s loss to the business.
- The loss of income. If you can’t work, you can’t earn and if you can’t earn – sooner or later, you’re going to need financial support. That may come from somebody’s family or it may come from the government or from a charitable endeavor. Wherever that support comes from, it costs.
- The loss of production at home. If you’re in too much pain to work, it follows pretty clearly that you’re not going to be cleaning the house or tidying out your garage. In fact, cooking, cleaning and other basic household tasks are likely to be beyond your reach. That means somebody else has to do them.
- The strain placed on family, friends, and employers. It’s not that people aren’t sympathetic to your pain, but many people resent it. It’s not your fault but that pain means they have to work harder and deal with the issues it causes. This results in both stress and resentment. Neither of these is good for people’s health and well-being. In turn, they may even lead to sickness which adds additional burdens to everyone in the chain.
- Legal costs. In many cases, people in pain will find that if their pain lasts long enough, they may need to take legal action against other agencies to get the help that they need. Their relationship may fail, resulting in divorce and further legal costs. Employers may fail to offer workers compensation and again, legal costs arise.
In short, chronic pain isn’t just a problem for the person with pain. It’s everybody’s problem and that doesn’t mean that you should lose your sympathy for those in pain. It means you should be pressing the government and private enterprise to come up with creative solutions to end people’s pain.
It’s been good to see CBD oil as a breakthrough in recent times but it’s not enough, millions of Americans are in pain, every single day of their lives. It’s time that the powers that be addressed that, not because it’s in the goodness of their hearts but because it costs less to treat pain than to ignore it for all of us.