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Chronic Pain: An Epidemic in America

Chronic Pain: An Epidemic in America

According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, chronic pain impacts 116 million people in the United States. That is more than the combined instances of diabetes, coronary heart disease, and cancer. The most common types of chronic pain, as reported by the National Institute of Health Statistics, are back pain (27%), severe headaches or migraines (15%), neck pain (15%) and facial pain (4%). The burden on chronic pain sufferer’s lives is significant, impacting one’s quality of life, financial stability, psychological well-being and social relationships. In addition, there is also a cost burden to society. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies estimate that chronic pain costs Americans $630 billion a year and this estimate does not include loss of productivity in the workplace.

Chronic pain is a complex condition that is neural, sensory, emotional, nutritional, physical and biological, and requires a multidimensional approach to care that often encompasses western and eastern medical and psychological modalities. Because of this complexity, chronic pain is often misdiagnosed by general practitioners. Over the past 2 decades, the practice of pain management has evolved into one of the fastest growing sectors of the medical field. Clinics that focus on pain management are now found all over the United States. These clinics realize the holistic nature of chronic pain and realize the multi-disciplinary approach that is required. Pain practitioners must be trained in several modalities to diagnose and treat chronic pain conditions effectively. In fact, it is common for a pain management clinic to be comprised of medical, psychological practitioners as well as massage therapists, acupuncturists, physical therapists and other professionals in alternative therapies. All of these individuals work together as a care team and will create a treatment plan for each patient.

Because of the various modalities required to treat chronic pain, a pain management clinic needs various types of equipment. A medical exam room requires stationary treatment tables and adjustable treatment tables to help facilitate the examination process which may involve comfortably manipulating a patient’s body in a variety of orientations. Physical therapy rooms require an extensive amount of the equipment including treatment tables, mobility products, hydrotherapy equipment, electrotherapy and ultrasound products. In addition, exercise equipment is required such as exercise bikes, stair steppers, treadmills, upper body ergometers, and pulley equipment. Specialty tables for massage and acupuncture practitioners include hi-lo tables, mat tables, spa tables and tilt tables. In addition, fluoroscopy tables and imaging tables are well suited for spinal procedures, surgical interventions and imaging procedures. Manufacturers such as Oakworks Medical, Chattanooga and Winco offer several product lines that support the pain management sector. If you are opening a new pain management clinic or expanding a current practice to include pain management then you will most likely incorporate a variety of products from these leading manufacturers.

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