As stakeholders in pain research and pain management across the U.S. observe Pain Awareness Month this September, an ACRP Fellow and long-time volunteer is among the voices calling for more attention to be aimed at this vital but often-overlooked area of healthcare.
“Instead of putting a band-aid on someone’s pain or ignoring it entirely, more research needs to be devoted to understanding chronic pain and improving the quality of life for those who suffer from it,” says Beth Bieze, MA, CCRA, ACRP-PM, FACRP, Clinical Operations Strategy and Training Director at ProTrials Research, Inc., which works on clinical trials in pain indications among many other therapeutic targets for its clients.
Pain is an often-invisible condition that many people suffer with on a daily basis, notes Bieze, who is also Chair of the 2023 Content Committee for ACRP. It can affect children as well as adults, influencing how they are able to function both physically and mentally, she adds.
According to the U.S. Pain Foundation, the need for more pain management options has perhaps never been greater or more urgent—with more than 51.6 million Americans living with chronic pain and 17.1 million experiencing high-impact chronic pain. Yet despite the enormous disease burden of chronic pain, pain remains a vastly underfunded therapeutic area relative to its prevalence and impact, the foundation says. Research, treatment options, and support for those affected individuals still lag behind other major diseases.
This year, the U.S. Pain Foundation initiative, #PainTrials, will highlight current pain research efforts—including those being conducted through the National Institutes of Health’s Helping to End Addiction Long-term® (HEAL) Initiative—and spotlight the need for more pain research to improve outcomes for millions of Americans.
“Chronic pain can come in many forms,” Bieze says. “People often dismiss some of these, thinking that individuals are ‘making too much of it’ or that ‘it can’t be that bad,’ but until you have experienced it, you have no idea how debilitating it can be. It’s time to move beyond simply masking the pain with addictive medication and [into an era when we] have more researchers dedicated to finding long-term options and solutions for people’s pain.”
Edited by Gary Cramer