Newly compiled health data indicates that one in five Europeans suffers from pain that has been occurring regularly for three months or longer; one in eleven, suffers from pain daily. The research has implications for the planning of health services.
The research, summarized by Medical Independent, has come to light following the launch of the first "European Year against Pain" (EYAP) in Brussels. The data additionally indicates that there are 100 million people affected by chronic pain in the 27 EU Member States.
According to Hospital Pharmacy Europe, these levels of so-termed chronic pain account for nearly 500 million lost working days every year. This has been estimate to cost the European economy around €34 billion. The economic impact relates to the finding that 22% of pain sufferers who are required to take sick leaves because of their chronic pain are absent from work for longer than ten days.
There is also a cost for employees, for the survey estimates that 19% of patients with moderate or severe chronic pain have lost their jobs.
The findings were presented by Professor Dr Hans Georg Kress (Vienna), President of the European Federation of IASP® Chapters (EFIC).
The findings have implications for health policy. The research showed that the management of chronic pain is often neglected, with only a low number of people seeking treatment.
The first 'European Year against Pain' began in October 2012 and will run until October 2013. The focus is on a type of pain that practically every person has experienced in its acute form and that is clearly underestimated in its chronic form: visceral pain. Visceral pain refers to common types of pain coming from the inner organs, such as the heart, blood vessels, respiratory passages, the urogenital tract or the digestive tract. This includes: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bladder pain and dysmenorrhoea (period pain).