One in every four persons in their mid-forties and over, suffers from chronic pain, as against only one person out of ten between the ages of 18 and 24. This was the result of a research undertaken by the Malta Health Network and the No Pain Foundation on the impact of the chronic pain in Malta.
Chronic pain is usually diagnosed after constant pain over a three month period. Some persons even reported symptoms that persisted over a period of two years. The research also highlighted how 20% of the adult Maltese population experiences chronic pain whilst 40% of the younger segment of the population does not participate in social gatherings due to physical or emotional health.
Arthritis, joint pain and fibromyalgia are the cause for 75% of chronic pain cases, whilst another 20% of the chronic pain cases originate from headaches and migraines. The remaining 5% consists of cases related to cardio-vascular disease, cancer, circulatory problems and miscarriages.
The research also explains how chronic pain limits daily activities as well as limits mobility. Over 86% of chronic pain sufferers end up losing up to a week of work a year, have to work reduced hours or end up changing careers.
Malta Health Network insists that this research shows clearly that chronic pain needs to be recognised as a medical condition there is also the need to provide information on how chronic pain may be avoided and a more liberal access to sufferers for medication to help alleviate the symptoms. They insist on the need for a National Plan across a number of Ministries as chronic pain cannot just fall under the Ministry of Health’s authority.
This article was updated to include No Pain Foundation as those who conducted the research together with the Malta Health Network.