Navigation Links
Chronic pain in homeless people not managed well: Study

TORONTO, Ont., July 21, 2011Chronic pain is not managed well in the general population and it's an even greater challenge for homeless people, according to new research by St. Michael's Hospital.

Twenty-five per cent of Canadians say they have continuous or intermittent chronic pain lasting six months or more. The number is likely to be even higher among homeless people, in part due to frequent injuries.

Of the 152 residents of homeless shelters with chronic pain studied by Dr. Stephen Hwang, more than one-third (37 per cent) had Chronic Pain Grade IV, the highest level, indicating high intensity and high disability.

Almost half the participants (46 per cent) reported using street drugs to treat their pain and 29 per cent used alcohol, said Dr. Hwang, a physician and researcher with the hospital's Centre for Research on Inner City Health.

Only half (51 per cent) of the participants were being treated for their pain by a physician. More than three-quarters (77 per cent) of the physicians said they had difficulty managing the patients' pain because of such things as a history of addiction, mental illness and missed appointments.

The research results were published in the online journal BMC Family Practice. Dr. Hwang said he believes it's the first study in a peer-reviewed journal to describe the severity and management of chronic pain among residents of homeless shelters.

"Our study demonstrates the need for improved approaches to the management of chronic pain in the homeless population," he said.

He believes community outreach programs may be necessary to help homeless people with chronic pain find health care. As well, health care providers who work with marginalized populations need to familiarize themselves with their patients' housing situations and routinely screen individuals who are homeless for chronic pain.

"Clinicians should also inquire about barriers to pain management such as financial ability to obtain appropriate over-the-counter and prescription medications. The adverse effects of homeless people's living and sleeping conditions should also be considered."

Dr. Hwang said that while physicians may have justifiable concerns about prescribing opiod drugs to patients with a history of substance abuse, this should not be a reason to avoid addressing chronic pain management with them.

"The answer to pain is not always simply a pill," he said, noting studies that indicate opioids such as oxycontin are often over-prescribed.

"A lot of patients expect a pill, when often what they really need is physiotherapy, which they can't afford and isn't covered by insurance."

Homeless people said that from their viewpoint, the barriers to managing their pain included the stress of living in shelters, inability to afford prescription medications and poor sleeping conditions.


Contact: Leslie Shepherd
St. Michael's Hospital

Related medicine news :

1. Young patients with chronic illnesses find relief in acupuncture
2. Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
3. One in Two Children Has Chronic Health Issues
4. Chronic Migraines Take a Greater Toll
5. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-Virus Link Questioned
6. Study Suggests Low-Consuming Medicare Beneficiaries With Chronic Disease Are More Costly to Program
7. Chronic Back Pain Soothed by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
8. Virus Unlikely to Cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
9. New Study: Improved Immune System with Gene-Eden, a Natural Antiviral Supplement that Targets Chronic Viruses
10. National Study Reports Staggering Spending Increases Among Seniors With Chronic Conditions Through Original Medicare - Special Needs Plan Program Offers Solution For Those In Texas
11. M. D. Anderson develops tool to measure severity of chronic graft-vs.-host disease symptoms
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... ... For the first time, Vitalalert is donating half of its earnings to ... between the two groups began in 2014 with Vitalalert pledging a portion of every ... founded in 1954 and is an international Christian-based health organization whose mission is to ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... encouraging people across the country to celebrate their sobriety and show through pictures ... post “before and after” photos this Thanksgiving with the hashtag #FacesOfGratitude on their ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... On November 25, 2015, ... for the Narconon network, announced the release of a new cutting edge recovery program ... organization has been working with drug- and alcohol-addicted individuals with the purpose to free ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... The McHenry County law firm of Botto Gilbert ... Attorneys Francisco J. Botto and Alex C. Wimmer. Attorneys Botto and Wimmer represented the ... App (2d) 130884WC. , According to court documents, Adcock testified that on May 10, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... ... Smiles by Stevens is pleased to announce the addition of Botox® for ... aware of the benefits of Botox® in the treatment of moderate facial wrinkling, few ... and pain as a result of Jaw Tension, TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint) disorder, and Bruxism ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015  Trovagene, Inc. (NASDAQ: TROV ), ... Chief Executive Officer Antonius Schuh, Ph.D., is scheduled to ... Annual Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference. th ... Palace Hotel in New York ... Mr. Schuh will be available for one-on-one meetings during ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN ... Therapeutics, a start-up  biotechnology company focused on the ... and funded by the F-Prime Biomedical Research Initiative ... an exclusive collaboration to support the discovery and ... (ASD) and Obsessive Compulsive disorders (OCD). ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Ohio , Nov. 25, 2015 ... handle hazardous drug preparations (e.g. pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, ... and veterinary technicians). The chapter also covers all ... drugs (e.g., pharmacies, hospitals, other healthcare institutions, patient ... --> --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: