The covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated conditions for people living with chronic pain around the world and its long-term consequences are likely to be substantial, according to a new paper from researchers at the University of Bath’s Centre for Pain Research.
Their Topical Review, published recently in the journal PAIN, suggests that with many doctors specializing in pain being redeployed to focus on the immediate crisis, access to traditional services for patients suffering from acute conditions, such as nerve damage or arthritis, has been severely disrupted. Whilst this creates an immediate capacity challenge for healthcare professionals, it has also provided them an opportunity to move towards the greater use of ‘telemedicine’ with online consultation, say the researchers.
Chronic or persistent pain is characterized as pain that carries on for longer than 12 weeks despite medication or treatment. Whereas most people get back to normal following an injury or operation, sometimes pain carries on for longer, or comes on without any history of an injury or operation. Common examples include lower back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and persistent and frequent headaches. Globally the burden of chronic pain is as high as 1 in 4 of adults. Data from young people are similar.