Pain Awareness Month – Tools to Talk About and Manage Living with Chronic Pain

Among the observances for September, Pain Awareness Month may be one of the farthest reaching. According to the National Institutes of Health, 100 million adults in the US live with chronic pain (PDF). About half of those adults live with pain daily, often moderate to severe. Chronic pain can be the result of an injury, such as spinal cord injury (SCI) or burn injury; part of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis; or a symptom of a condition such as migraine or multiple sclerosis. If it is severe enough, chronic pain can interfere with major life activities like getting out into the community, working, or completing household and personal care activities.

People who live with chronic pain may focus on pain management with their primary care provider, a pain management physician, or another specialist who is familiar with their disability. Some care providers may not be fully trained in pain and pain management. For example, these providers may not know the risks of certain medications like opioids, they may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable discussing complementary and alternative options to pain management, or they may not understand their patient’s experience of living with chronic pain.

We gathered some tools from the NIDILRR community and elsewhere to help people living with chronic pain and their care teams talk about pain and work together to build the right pain management plan to meet their needs.

Understanding Pain

A Safer Approach to Opioids

Complementary and Integrative Health Options

Find Support

The NARIC Knowledgebase lists many organizations, publishers, and web resources supporting people living with chronic pain and their providers.

Explore the Research

The NARIC collection includes thousands of articles, books, and reports on pain, chronic pain, and pain management, both from the NIDILRR grantees and from the wider disability and rehabilitation research community. Here are a few links for recent searches we’ve conducted:

More research and resources are available from the NARIC collection. Contact our information specialists if we can assist you in searching our databases, locating resources online, or connecting with support resources in your community.

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