By Steve Dechan
According to the NHS, chronic musculoskeletal pain has a colossal impact on public health, affecting up to three in ten British adults and disproportionately impacting over-55s. In an age where taking care of our elderly has become more important than ever, it is vital that we do our utmost to reduce its debilitating effect on their daily lives.
There are three main categories of musculoskeletal pain – muscle pain, bone pain and tendon pain – and all three can be chronic in certain situations. Lower back pain, which is a type of tendon pain, is the most common form, with a roughly 70% lifetime prevalence. Given these statistics, adoption of more effective musculoskeletal pain remedies is an investment in our future and will reap rewards for most of us in later life.
Musculoskeletal pain sometimes begins after a patient has an injury, but typically has a very gradual onset, meaning that it can be difficult to determine the root cause. Often, but not always, chronic musculoskeletal pain is the result of an underlying condition, such as arthritis or lupus. Given this lack of clarity, the best way to deal with musculoskeletal pain is to understand the nerve impulses behind pain itself, and employ treatments that can stop the pain in its tracks.
Many of the drugs currently on the market for treating musculoskeletal pain can have adverse effects, including causing pain in their own right. Left with no better treatment option, sufferers are forced to choose between the lesser of two pains.
In order to deal with the sheer scale of the problem posed by chronic musculoskeletal pain, we have an obligation to consider exploring alternatives beyond drug-based medication. I am confident that wider adoption of drug-free pain blocking technology would offer a life changing step towards improving the lives of those affected.
Imagine a joined up service, primary care, diagnostics, musculoskeletal and pain management at the early stages of the pathway? The sheer scale would be managed, the patients pain controlled to the optimum benefit. The productivity of any society adopting this change would increase markedly, while healthcare costs are significantly reduced.