Governor proclaims Pain Awareness Month

SEPTEMBER 5, 2012 – Governor Rick Snyder issued a proclamation 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.

LARA’s 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 H. Hilfinger, director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

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. BHP 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: and #MIPAM, and also check out LARA’s Facebook page:  Public Service Announcements are also available for sharing at

Opioid prescriptions are on the rise for managing chronic pain but BHP’s 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 (CDC), 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. Some people suffer needlessly – 60 percent of respondents to our last survey said they agree that people avoid treatment for fear of addiction to medications,” said BHP Director Rae Ramsdell. “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.

Tips for managing pain include:

·         Hot/Cold Therapy

·         Exercise

·         Relaxation Techniques

·         Stress

·         Counseling (many with severe chronic pain suffer from depression and/or anxiety)

·         Acupuncture

·         Massages

·         Physical Therapy

·         In regard to managing severe pain, options are available such as using an interventional pain management specialist for treatments such as injections.

For more information on managing pain, consumers should visit LARA’s Bureau of Health Professions Pain Management website: