No Pain, Your Gain -- September is Pain Awareness Month

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September is Pain Awareness Month

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Understanding your expenses and identifying sources of available income are important first steps to minimizing financial problems. Taking advantage of all the benefits you are entitled to can save you money, improve your healthcare and reduce stress.

Pain is a leading cause of disability in the United States, according to Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation and Medicare plan selection services. September is Pain Awareness Month, and Allsup supports the American Pain Foundation’s (APF) virtual march on Washington to raise awareness about the barriers to accessing appropriate and effective pain management and the desperate need to improve pain care for all Americans.

There are two basic types of pain -- acute and chronic. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke characterizes them as follows:

  • Acute pain, for the most part, results from disease, inflammation, or injury to tissues. This type of pain generally comes on suddenly, for example, after trauma or surgery, and may be accompanied by anxiety or emotional distress. The cause of acute pain can usually be diagnosed and treated, and the pain is self-limiting -- confined to a given period of time and severity. In some rare instances, it can become chronic.
  • Chronic pain is widely believed to represent disease itself. It can be made much worse by environmental and psychological factors. Chronic pain persists over a longer period of time than acute pain and is resistant to most medical treatments. It can -- and often does -- cause severe problems for patients.

Pain is an all too common secondary condition for people with disabilities. For example, nearly half of people with multiple sclerosis have chronic pain, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

People who are paralyzed often have what is called neurogenic pain resulting from damage to nerves in the spinal cord. For some survivors of spinal cord injury, pain or an intense burning or stinging sensation is unremitting due to hypersensitivity in some parts of the body.

The National Fibromyalgia Association cites chronic widespread body pain as the primary symptom of fibromyalgia. The pain has been described as stabbing and shooting pain and deep muscular aching, throbbing, and twitching.

Whatever the source or type, unrelieved pain causes suffering, can lead to other health problems, and delays recovery, thereby adding unnecessarily to health care costs, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. If a person is unable to continue working because of pain, it can have a catastrophic financial impact.

Organizations like the MS Society and National Fibromyalgia Association encourage patients to talk to their healthcare providers and ask about their pain management options. They may include simple analgesics (pain-relievers) like acetaminophen, aspirin or non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS); or nonpharmacological treatments and alternative therapies, such as stretching and movement therapies, gentle massage, heat, exercises, hydrotherapy and relaxation techniques.

Knowing your financial options and taking stock of your available resources, including health insurance and SSDI benefits can help address the significant financial impact of not being able to work due to pain.

“Understanding your expenses and identifying sources of available income are important first steps to minimizing financial problems,” said Paul Gada, personal financial planning director for the Allsup Disability Life Planning Center. “Taking advantage of all the benefits you are entitled to can save you money, improve your healthcare and reduce stress.”

In addition to joining the virtual march on Washington, you can help promote pain awareness and treatment by sending Pain Awareness Month E-Cards to family, friends, caregivers and healthcare providers. The National Fibromyalgia Association’s FM Aware magazine is sponsoring the free service in honor of Pain Awareness month. Visitors to can send cards throughout September.

Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs nearly 700 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis.


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Tai Venuti
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Rebecca Ray
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