Women's Advocates Confront Silent and Costly Epidemic Of Chronic Pain

WASHINGTON, DC – June 24, 2011 – The Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women (“the Campaign”) today released its 2011 health care policy recommendations, which could save the government billions of dollars in wasted healthcare costs each year. This update to the Campaign’s groundbreaking 2010 report – Chronic Pain in Women: Neglect, Dismissal and Discrimination – offers recommendations in advance of a major, new, Congressionally-mandated study and recommendations on pain to be released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) on June 29, 2011.

“Up to 50 million American women suffer from one or more chronic pain conditions. Our country’s failure to support research and train medical professionals in the appropriate diagnosis and treatment of these conditions adds as much as $80 billion a year in direct and indirect costs to American taxpayer’s health care bill,” said Terrie Cowley, President of the TMJ Association, one of the four organizations leading the Campaign.   

 “Chronic pain is a silent and very costly epidemic. The good news is that solutions would not only improve the lives of millions who suffer, but they would also cut health costs and improve economic productivity,” added Kim McCleary, President and CEO of the CFIDS Association of America, one of the four organizations leading the Campaign. 
After a successful inaugural year of the Campaign, the 2011 recommendations include:

  • The National Institutes of Health should expand, better coordinate and focus federally supported research on chronic pain conditions which solely or disproportionately impact women, including chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders and vulvodynia. 
  • Using the latest scientific information on the diagnoses, treatment and prevention of these disorders, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with support from and in collaboration with other federal agencies, should launch an aggressive multi-year campaign to appropriately educate health care professionals, as well as patients and the lay public.
  • Federal health agencies involved in pain care, education and research should improve coordination and resource-sharing to ensure information sharing, replication of best practices, and elimination of overlap and duplication.

To read the full text of the report and all of the recommendations, visit http://www.endwomenspain.org.

“As a Campaign, we are proud to have participated in the national conversation about pain throughout the past year, and will continue to offer recommendations that  we hope will continue to be  implemented at the highest levels of government,” said Christin Veasley, Executive Director, National Vulvodynia Association, one of the four organizations leading the Campaign. “We are pleased that the IOM completed its pain study in such a timely manner and look forward to working with all levels of government to implement vital recommendations that will improve the lives of millions of pain sufferers.”

The IOM’s report on our nation’s status of pain care, education and research will be released on June 29, 2011. 

About The Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women:
The Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women is an advocacy campaign fighting to end discrimination and improve care for women suffering from chronic pain. The Campaign is led by organizational leaders from the CFIDS Association of America, Endometriosis Association, National Vulvodynia Association, and The TMJ Association. For more information, visit www.EndWomensPain.org.