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The Global Chronic Pain Crisis Explained

Chronic pain is a big deal. Depending on where you live it affects anywhere from Why and where is this happening? And how did it get so bad? First – let’s define chronic pain. Chronic, aka persistent pain, is any pain
that lasts more than three months. For many people, pain can last years and even decades despite the original injury having healed Common chronic pain conditions include ailments
such as Strangely enough, you don’t have to be injured
to feel pain or develop chronic pain. Conditions such as often occur without any injury and can be debilitating. Before we get into the facts and figures of
chronic pain, let’s touch on the diagnosis of chronic pain, which is the key to understanding
why billions of people around the world are still suffering. Persistent pain can be caused by either: Pain science research has shown that the brain
can continue creating pain even after an injury has healed, or – as mentioned earlier – even
without any injury being present. Thoughts, feelings and situations can be enough
to create pain and the longer we experience pain, the better our pain system gets at creating
pain again. Acute pain from an injury may have lasted
long enough for your brain to develop a habit of creating pain. Or the pain could be the result of underlying
stress and anxiety that is not being addressed. It can even be a combination of these two
factors. Pain is a protective mechanism. It’s there to protect us from certain harmful
actions, and to alert us that something might be wrong with our body. But as with any of our body’s protective
mechanisms, it can become over-protective and over-sensitive – as is often the case
when pain becomes chronic, and outlasts the normal healing time period. With the exception of infections, tumours
and cancer, we know that most medical professionals are incorrectly labeling the vast majority
of chronic pain as a physical injury or structural issue – as opposed to neural pathway pain. When this happens, the consequences are nothing short of dire. Believing something is broken inside of them,
patients become afraid to move and afraid of pain. This fear and anxiety keeps patients locked
in a cycle of pain and fear. Medications and operations will offer little
relief, if any. Patients end up believing they have no other
option but to live with the pain and they often develop an array of complex coping strategies that interfere with living a normal and happy life. First, let’s consider the likelihood of a structural issue or injury that lasts more than six months. The UK’s National Health Service states
that a severe broken leg will heal on its own within four to six months. A severe slipped disc will heal on its own
within three months. The human body has a remarkable ability to
heal. But it’s also just as easy for your brain
to develop habits – such as continuing to create pain after an injury has healed, or creating pain due to perceived triggers, worry and negative expectations. Furthermore, clinical imaging such as MRIs
and CT scans can sometimes do more harm than good These imaging techniques became widely available
in the early 1980s. Unfortunately, rather than help cure persistent
pain, patients and doctors saw what they thought was damage on a scan and this led to fear
and high expectations of pain. Surgical procedures to fix what was thought
to be a problem rarely worked, and often made the pain worse. Significant research shows that even trained
experts cannot tell the cause of pain just by looking at a scan. For example, a 2015 study in the American
Journal of Neuroradiology found that MRIs are even higher in older patients. The vast majority of adults, therefore, have
abnormal MRIs, proving that these “abnormalities” do not necessarily cause pain. Despite this, many clinicians continue to
point to minor structural findings as the cause of chronic neck, back and other pain. Industry-leading pain specialists such as estimate that Let’s just think about that for a moment. The vast majority of these people are completely
unaware that the pain is And that the brain can be retrained to stop
creating this pain – that they could live a pain-free life. Thousands of patient reports and independent
research supports our ability to retrain the brain to stop chronic pain. For example, 2017 research by the University
of Utah published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine concluded: Most medical practices still consider pain
as a symptom of a disease or structural issue, whereas it needs to be thought of as a problem
in itself. For the estimated 1.2 billion people that
suffer from neural pathway pain, pills and operations will offer little relief or simply
worsen symptoms. Continuing with our back pain example, numerous
studies point to the low success rate of back surgeries but they are still being conducted
in record numbers. Medical website Health Outcome collected 23,320
patient reviews on various back surgeries. Results showed that As for painkillers, in the US, the highly
publicised opioid epidemic claims more than one hundred lives every single day. Why don’t more patients and doctors realise
that the vast majority of chronic pain is neural pathway pain? First, treating chronic pain requires effort
from the patient – they need to objectively assess pain creating behaviours and emotions
and learn new techniques to break out of the pain cycle. In addition, most patients are accustomed
to seeing a doctor for fifteen minutes, being prescribed something and hoping that it works. We live in a pill culture with expectations
of instant relief. Also, most general medical professionals simply
aren’t trained to treat chronic pain and even if they are, it’s difficult to do so
with the time they have with each patient. Explaining to a patient can be a sensitive topic. Some patients are aware of conditions such
as phantom limb pain where a person will feel completely real pain in a limb that isn’t
there. But many are completely unaware unless given
a thorough explanation on pain science, which often just isn’t practical for the doctor. Unfortunately, financial incentives also play
a big part in this. In the US alone, the back pain industry is worth That’s a lot of medical professionals getting
paid for unnecessary We know that chronic pain affects billions
of people around the world, but what does it look like in your country? Statistics haven’t been published for every
country but for those where there is reputable research, here are the top 6 in order of number
of people affected. And here are some more stats for those countries
not included in that list. There’s a lot to take in so you might want
to pause the video, or take a look at this graphic on our blog. Link in the description. Chronic pain is by far the biggest global
health burden. This must, and can change. Chronic pain affects not only individuals
like you and I. It also affects families, the health care
system, and society as a whole. If you suffer from chronic pain, be sure to
always get more than one medical opinion. And most importantly You don’t need to live in pain This video is brought to you by our mission is to free at least one million people from
chronic pain. If we’re able to reach that goal, we think
we can really start to make a difference in the way persistent pain is treated around
the world. If you suffer from chronic pain, you can download
our app for free and we’ll do our best to retrain your brain so you can overcome pain. Or if you know someone with persistent pain It might just change their life.

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