Migraine Treatment Centers of America has been a proud supporter of Pain Awareness Month for several years. But what is it? Where did it come from? And most importantly, how can we all help spread awareness of the needs of the 100 million Americans living with chronic pain?
In 2001, the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) pulled together a diverse group of organizations under the umbrella of Partners for Understanding Pain to establish a pain awareness campaign. According to the ACPA, Partners for Understanding Pain is “dedicated to building the understanding and support that can help people with chronic, acute, and cancer pain lead better lives.” Crucial to this undertaking was declaring September Pain Awareness Month.
Over the next several years, the ACPA and their Partners for Understanding Pain continued to spread their message of pain awareness. In 2002, they hosted a kick-off lunch at the International Association for the Study of Pain Conference, and in 2003 had a conference of their own. By 2004, the Partners were meeting with legislators in Washington, D.C. at the Meeting Challenges in the Decade of Pain event. That year, they also introduced a free toolkit for nurses they had developed with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Nurses Association among others.
More free toolkits followed providing information and awareness-raising techniques for nurses, pharmacists, and those concerned with pain in older adults. The ACPA has distributed over 150,00 of these tool kits! By 2007, Pain Awareness Month was a well-established yearly event. The ACPA continues the work to spread awareness and challenge misconceptions about chronic pain.
How to Help
There are several ways you can help bring awareness to this pressing issue. And it is pressing; did you know over 100 million Americans are living in chronic pain? Even if you’re not a migraine sufferer, you can still reach out to help those who are.
Media coverage can go a long way toward reducing the stigma associated with needing medications or surgical procedures to address pain problems. The ACPA provides a press kit for reaching out to the media in your area to see if they are covering Pain Awareness Month.
You can also share information on migraine pain, from our blog or other sources, via your own social media accounts. We also have information available on the research behind our migraine treatment options that can be useful to those seeking relief.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you can talk to friends and family about pain and the toll it can take. It can be a difficult conversation to have, but each person convinced of the importance of medical care for sufferers becomes another advocate for people living with pain.