Throughout the year there are special dates that are related to the field of health. Precisely every October 17, World Day Against Pain is commemorated and its objective is to highlight the urgent need to find better relief for physical suffering due to diseases. You as a doctor live this dilemma on a daily basis with your patients. It is not enough to help each one to achieve their cure but you must look for the most suitable alternative.

In that sense, it is necessary to remember that pain relief is a universal right of all human beings. This is stipulated in the United Nations Charter of Human Rights since 2000.

Definition and importance

For its part, International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as an “unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage”. Regarding the child population, he explains that “the inability to communicate verbally does not deny the possibility that someone is suffering pain and needs adequate pharmacological treatment.”

The importance of World Pain Day is because it is a feeling that practically everyone has experienced at some point in their life. Within the field of health it can be due to a fall, surgery or some disease, among many other reasons.

It has also been observed that some diseases are more related to the presence of pain than others. Such is the case of arthritis, fibromyalgia, different types of cancer, neuropathies and fractures. Tolerance to discomfort is highly variable because some people have a higher tolerance than others.

For its part, pain can be acute or chronic. In the case of the first, it is characterized because it appears suddenly and does not last long. On the other hand, the second is long-lasting and persists for more than three months.

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Current outlook in Mexico

Chronic pain is a public health problem that affects 25 to 29 percent of the world’s population; however, in Mexico lacks statistical information that allows knowing the impact of chronic pain in the general population.

What is known is that pain is prevalent in the older adult population. Findings from the National Study on Health and Aging in Mexico indicate that 41.5% of adults over 50 years of age reported suffering pain, being more frequent in women than in men (48.3% vs. 33.6%), and that the percentage of pain increases in older adults.

Chronic pain has serious consequences for the people who suffer from it. One in three people with serious ailments cannot lead a normal life, exercise, sleep normally, or participate in social activities. In addition, chronic pain is the main cause of absenteeism and disability, which generates enormous costs for the health sector. Its inappropriate handling has severe physical, affective and socioeconomic repercussions for the person, the family and public health services.

Treatment is carried out on an individual basis. Many doctors are governed by the analgesic scale of the World Health Organization (WHO), basing their decision mainly on the intensity and characteristics of the pain, as well as the moment in which the disease is found. In many cases, chronic pain improves with palliative care.

Chronic pain cannot be prevented; However, maintaining an ideal weight, adopting a healthy diet, exercising whenever possible, controlling anxiety and sleeping well are some measures that can help reduce or control pain.

While another objective of World Pain Day is to emphasize the importance of family support. The emotional support of close ones also helps in the treatment of those affected.