SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – On February 22, President Barack Obama formally recognized pain patients’ experiences and opposed legislation imposing limits on opioid prescribing. “Pain is real,” Obama said, in declining to endorse a sweeping proposal by some governors to put limits on the number of opioid painkillers that doctors can prescribe, saying such a policy would be unfair to rural Americans who don't have easy access to pain medication or addiction treatment programs. "If we go to the doctors right now and say 'Don't overprescribe' without providing some mechanisms for people in these communities to deal with the pain that they have or the issues that they have, then we're not going to solve the problem," Obama said. "Because the pain is real. The mental illness is real. In some cases, addiction is already out there. In some cases these are underserved communities when it comes to the number of doctors and nurses and practitioners."
“One hundred million American adults live with the disease of chronic pain, and many of them rely on a combination of therapies to function,” said Jan Chambers, president of the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA). “That combination treatment often includes strong pain medications.”
“Rather than viewing pain as simply a symptom of trauma, infection, inflammation, or surgery, we now see it as a discrete disease entity - one that fundamentally alters the entire nervous system,” report Stanford University researchers. To increase scientific research funding for multidisciplinary treatments for pain and to raise awareness of the challenges people with chronic pain face, the NFMCPA is sponsoring Together Walks in May across the United States. These local events celebrate May 12 Fibromyalgia Awareness Day to recognize what patients have overcome, to remember those lost to the illness, and to honor people who have fought or are fighting fibromyalgia and chronic pain.
"If we go to the doctors right now and say 'Don't overprescribe' without providing some mechanisms for people in these communities to deal with the pain that they have or the issues that they have, then we're not going to solve the problem,” said Obama.
Together Walks are a step toward a solution for chronic pain. The events unite communities to make a difference, raise awareness, advocate for better access to care, and encourage and fund research that leads to better treatments. An estimated 10 million Americans, 2 to 4 percent of population, have FM – a common illness involving long-term, body-wide pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, memory problems and impaired functionality – as a primary diagnosis.
NFMCPA calls upon individuals living with chronic pain and their friends, family and caregivers to participate. The organization invites everyone to attend the Virtual Together Walk or to participate live in Richmond, Virginia; Kissimmee and Coral Springs, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; Portland, Washington; and Louisville, Kentucky. For more information, please visit togetherwalks.org or register at crowdrise.com/togetherwalks.
About the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA)
NFMCPA, a not-for-profit organization, supports individuals living with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain illnesses by raising awareness through community outreach, education, advocacy and networking.