Today is World Day Against Pain, an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) whose objective is to raise awareness of the chronic pain suffered by patients with diseases such as cancer and AIDS. The initiative is aimed at people living in low and middle-income countries where there is a growing burden of chronic diseases and limited health resources.
Chronic pain is a pathology that can have many causes and treatments. “A pain is considered chronic when it lasts six months or more and can be caused by accidents, injuries, degenerative diseases, previous surgeries and the regular aging process,” says Nervo, a US company that specializes in pain treatment.
According to the WHO, more than 1.5 billion people suffer from chronic pain globally; however, there are some differences when it comes to differentiating acute pain from chronic pain, which limits both diagnoses and treatments. “Chronic pain in Mexico is a silent epidemic, although it affects approximately 27 percent of the population,” said Algeria Lara, head of the Pain Clinic of the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Salvador Zubirán, in an interview.
The aging of the Mexican population is reversing the population pyramid. According to INEGI, in 2017 Mexico had approximately 13 million people over 60 years old but this figure is expected to increase to 20 million by 2030. According to INEGI 2050, about 28 percent of the total population of Mexico will be an older adult in the year 2050. “The presence of pain is frequent in the elderly and studies report a prevalence that ranges between 25 and 88 percent in subjects over 65 years of age, which is approximately double that in younger patients,” states the Geriatric Evaluation Clinic of the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Salvador Zubirán.
However, global efforts are underway to alleviate chronic pain and to encourage governments to impose access to pain control as a priority. In 2011, when the Montreal Declaration was signed, two main obligations were established for governments and authorities related to health. First, the obligation of governments and all health institutions to ensure that people have access to fully adequate pain control. Second, the obligation of all health professionals to offer careful and competent pain treatments in the field of human rights.
Industry Analyst and Journalist at Mexico Business Publishing