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Call for improved chronic pain assessment

The European Federation of IASP chapters has launched a campaign to highlight the "silent epidemic" of chronic back pain as part of its European Week against Pain

The European Federation of IASP chapters (EFIC) has launched a campaign to highlight chronic back pain as part of its European Week against Pain.

Professor Dr Hans Georg Kress, president of the EFIC, said the "silent epidemic" affected millions of people in Europe and was "heavily underestimated" by healthcare professionals and people involved in healthcare policy.

He insisted new medical classifications were needed for variations of chronic back pain if there was to be appropriate research done into specific treatments. Around 95 per cent of current back pain cases are classified as 'non-specific' by healthcare professionals.

The EFIC's demands come as new research is published that suggests almost three quarters of GPs in the UK do not use an assessment tool to measure a patient's level of pain. This compares to around half of all primary care healthcare professionals who use an assessment tool in the rest of Europe.

The study, funded by Mundipharma, also revealed that 81 per cent of UK-based GPs surveyed agreed that chronic pain and its impact on quality of life tends to be under assessed in primary care.

Dr Martin Johnson of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said: "Accurate assessment of pain in a consultation is achievable using the right techniques. Making the correct assessment of pain from the outset leads to better overall management and care in the long term."

Mundipharma has also produced a video in association with the EFIC to raise awareness of chronic pain as part of the European Week against Pain.

11th October 2011

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