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Gov. Snyder Proclaims September as Pain Awareness Month

More than 4 million Michigan workers are impacted by chronic pain in the workplace.

Gov. Rick Snyder issued a proclamation this week recognizing September as Pain Awareness Month to bring attention to the financial and personal cost related to the chronic pain that impacts an estimated 4 million Michiganders.

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Bureau of Health Professions estimates that undertreated and untreated pain costs Michigan citizens as much as $16 billion annually in health care expenses, lost productivity, and lost wages.

“Michigan is a nationally recognized leader in the development of pain management policies and statewide strategies to educate health care professionals and the public in an effort to improve pain and symptom management in our state,” said Steven Hilfinger, director of LARA.

Michigan’s Public Health Code states that Michigan patients or residents in state licensed facilities are entitled to adequate and appropriate pain management as a basic and essential element of their medical treatment. The state has launched a public education campaign throughout the month of September with tips on how to self-manage pain. Consumers are invited to join the conversation on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/michiganLARA and #MIPAM, and also check out LARA’s Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/michiganLARA.

Opioid prescriptions are on the rise for managing chronic pain but the Bureau of Health Professions' State Pain Management and Palliative Care Program offers information on other solutions.

The Claims Journal reports “Escalating problems such as overdose, addiction, and even death have reached epidemic proportions, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and are now commonly reported in association with workers’ compensation claims with 55-85 percent of injured workers across the country receiving narcotics for chronic pain relief.”

“We want to educate consumers and health care practitioners about the many safe and effective options available as alternatives to medication, such as hot/cold therapy, physical therapy, exercise, acupuncture and stress management,” director Rae Ramsdell said. “With the help of health care practitioners and by using self-management strategies, many people can reduce their chronic pain and resume their normal, active lives.”

If pain is undertreated or goes untreated altogether, it can cause other serious symptoms. Some of these include: depression, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, sense of hopelessness/isolation, and loss of appetite.

For more information on managing pain, consumers can visit LARA’s Bureau of Health Professions Pain Management website at www.michigan.gov/pm.

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