Chronic pain treatments are failing European patients


According to a Boston Scientific survey of more than 1,000 chronic pain patients across Europe, patients continue to have problems related to their pain on a daily basis even after trying several treatment options.

The painful truth survey: The state of pain management in Europe, which was sponsored by Boston Scientific and supported by third party groups (including Action on Pain UK, the Spanish Pain Association and the German Pain League), found that more than a third of patient with chronic pain have difficulties with performing routine daily tasks, which affects their work and personal lives.

According to a press release, the organisations involved with survey are now calling for governments in all European countries to develop national plans for chronic pain management that go beyond the traditional diagnosis and treatment routes.

The press release also reported that the results indicated that one fifth of those surveyed have a chronic pain diagnosis that may be treated or managed with therapies such as spinal cord stimulation. However, despite availability across Europe of spinal cord stimulation, two thirds of patients have never heard of the treatment.

“For many patients, conventional medication or surgery is not the answer and we need to be exploring how best to use innovative and cost-effective technologies as they emerge,” said Simon Thomson, consultant in Pain Medicine and Neuromodulation,  Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Basildon, UK. “In the longer term, spinal cord stimulation may not only improve the sufferer’s pain, but also reduce the burden on the health economy by getting the right treatment to the right individual at the right time.” He added. 

The press release also stated that treatment options such as rechargeable spinal cord stimulation may help some patients manage their chronic pain, possibly reducing the need for daily medicinal therapy, and relieve subsequent pressure on healthcare systems. Studies have shown that the cost of treating patients with spinal cord stimulation are recuperated in one to three years in comparison to conventional therapies, due to a reduction in healthcare resources such as drug therapy and repeat hospitalisations.