In 2001, Pain Awareness Month was established with the goal of raising public awareness of all the issues related to pain and pain management. This hits close to home for all of us at the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine as we have been seeing and treating patients with chronic pain and illness for more than thirty years.
Healthcare organizations across the country take the lead with public campaigns and encouragement for individual chronic pain sufferers to be vocal about the challenges that affect their physical and emotional well-being. And with over 100 million people in this country living with chronic pain and depression, we must remember that we are all touched by chronic pain.
How can you make a difference? Here are some simple ideas on how you can get involved:
- Share your story. Talk about your relationship with pain to a friend, loved one, physician, or support group. Sharing your experience can educate others, and knowing you are not alone is crucial for maintaining your emotional well-being.
- Get social. Follow one of the many chronic pain health organizations, including our Facebook page which offers daily posts featuring news on the latest research, provider insight and tips, and healthy recipes. By sharing information on treatments, new research, and personal experiences within your network you are reaching a vast audience in mere seconds.
- Participate in or organize a fundraiser. Many nonprofit pain organizations host annual fundraisers in a variety of formats. From Fun Runs/Walks to auctions there is something for everyone to be able to participate in. For those who are more ambitious, many sites have information on how to become an organizer in your local community.
- Volunteer your time. Most non-profits can use an extra hand and will have a variety of ways to volunteer your time. Inquire about ways to help in fundraising, promotion/marketing, administrative help, or even peer mentoring. Evidence suggests that people living with chronic pain may even experience an improvement in symptoms when participating in volunteer opportunities.
- Make a donation. There are so many organizations dedicated to the study of chronic pain. If you know someone suffering from a chronic pain condition, consider making a donation to a non-profit related to his or her condition. In 2015, Dr. Gary Kaplan established the Foundation for Total Recovery in order to provide support and find a cure for all who suffer from chronic pain and depression by educating patients, partnering with leading researchers, academics, and innovators, and studying data to find a baseline approach to diagnosing and curing neuro-inflammation. Other leading non-profits to consider include the U.S. Pain Foundation, the American Chronic Pain Organization, the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA), and the American Academy of Pain Medicine.