The awareness of pain is becoming wider every day. The pain units, equipped with sophisticated technological equipment, in most of the hospitals of the National Health System have allowed these patients to be treated in a more effective and safe way. Gemma Fernández Bosch, president of the Association of Patients against Pain Sine Dolore, highlights the importance of these units that not only improve the quality of life of the people affected, but also allow them to save if patients are referred early.
Primary care or hospital, where should the pain be addressed?
We believe that the hospital specialist should approach it because he is trained for this and has more knowledge about pain. Obviously, primary attention attends to the first symptoms, but when more than three weeks have passed if it is quickly derived to a unit, perhaps it could be helped much more. When a person arrives at a unit of pain, it takes many months going from doctor to doctor and without solving the problem. Arriving at a unit is always a little more difficult because the pain has already become chronic.
Is the patient arriving late to the pain units?
Yes. Normally he comes tired of going to a doctor. He arrives with a chronic and invalidating pain. It is not only in a focus, in an arm, for example, but in the whole body. This pain causes the patient not to rest at night and we all know how important it is. Patients even go into depression because they see that the pain is not healing.
The patient usually arrives at the pain units with a chronic and disabling pain.
What is the incidence of pain?
According to the World Health Organization, 20% of the world's population suffers from chronic pain. It is a very high figure. The incidence in Spain is very similar. For example, if we ask four or five families, surely all of them have a member who suffers pain or at a certain moment has suffered a pain that fortunately has disappeared a little but sometimes returns.
What are the pain units contributing to these patients?
Each unit of hospital pain has its philosophy and its way of acting. The association strives to improve the quality of life of patients, who have a better quality of life with that same disease. We know that chronic pain can not be cured because it is chronic. But a patient can lead a life if suffering, that can have peaks of pain, but that is not invalidating. Living with pain is unbearable and not only for the patient. In the end, it affects family members and people close to them or at work. From the units it is a matter of providing an adequate medication so that it has the minimum side effects and that it is beneficial for the patient.
According to the World Health Organization, 20% of the world's population suffers from chronic pain
Is there enough implantation of the pain units in the National Health System?
From my point of view, I think you have to bet. There are people who do not have access yet. We have been called by many patients from different autonomous communities who have a crippling pain and who do not know what to do. We have to explain to them that they should go to their doctor to refer them to the unit. A person can not decide for themselves to go to the unit. The primary care physician should refer you to a specialist in the pain unit.
Are units that have an important technological equipment and involve a large investment, can it be a brake on its implementation?
I think that the patients were derived beforehand we would save. While they are consulting with other specialists, be it the trauma surgeon, the neurologist ... they do not reach the unit. If at the minimum they were derived there, other resources would not be consumed. Each community has it organized in a way. We believe in the role of these units and we have the proof in all the patients that go to the unit they find an improvement. Pain units are established in most hospitals.
From the units it is a question of facilitating an adequate medication so that it has the minimum side effects and that it is beneficial for the patient.
Pain has begun to be addressed as a specific pathology, how have these units helped in this change of concept?
I think the awareness that there is a chronic pain, that many people suffer from us and that there are specialized doctors, at the time that is spoken and that pharma companies invest in new drugs and that is investigated, all this helps. A few years ago there was no talk of pain. It is a problem and as more awareness becomes more effective it is. For three years now, we have turned Menorca into a theme park against pain and quality of life. Sine Dolore World Park is a park in which not only people with pain are involved, but also the town halls, private companies, different estates, etc., and all with the aim of making the invisible visible, which is pain. As Menorca is a tourist island we organize it when the season starts on May 1st. The first year was three days and then it was a week.
For three years we have turned Menorca into a theme park against pain and quality of life
He told me that the industry is investigating new medicines, are they meeting the needs of patients?
Patients are usually happy with the medication prescribed. There are more specific medications. It's very important. The pain is in all disciplines, even in pediatrics. It is not spoken, but it exists. In oncology, in traumatology, in surgery ... In all fields there is a moment when there is pain. The fact that pharmaceutical companies continue to invest in perfecting their medications, that they have fewer side effects and that they act more quickly is very fast. It is appreciated that they invest and continue investing. Thanks to the knowledge and awareness of people, they act more and eve in a different way.
What activities are organized during the Sine Dolore World Park?
All the activities have the purpose of making people aware. There are horse races, concerts, exhibitions, the Sine Dolore gala with local artists of great name that act for free ... It serves to alleviate those people who during some doritas forget that they feel pain getting emotional with the music.
What challenges arise from the association?
We have opted to turn Menorca into a theme park against pain and quality of life. It is our great challenge. This 2018 has been the fourth edition and we are already preparing the fifth one. It is already a fixed annual appointment. During these days there are talks with doctors from all over the country. They give 15-minute talks in plain language that any patient can understand. The patient can interact and ask the doctor. It is done in eight municipalities simultaneously. The talks are recorded and available to patients on our website and on social networks. It is very important that the information arrives.
Author: Juan Pablo Ramírez (www.isanidad.com)