There is a lot going on in our society at the moment in respect to Chronic Pain. More and more people are coming to see the condition as “real” and too, the complex nature of it
(which anyone with the condition can tell you – the impact on one’s mind and spirit, mental and emotional well-being when you live in constant pain, the lack of understanding amongst healthcare professionals, our families and friends and the public at large, the often invisible disability nature of the condition, and on and on it goes). There is certainly a lot of attention being given by the media to opiates and other pain medications, which can be concerning (to say the least) for those living in Chronic Pain, but there are also movements afoot such as…
integrative pain care, the need and emphasis on health professional’s education in respect to pain, Chronic Pain particularly, and pain management clinics (who move beyond the cliché idea of a pain management clinic as merely a drug rehabilitation facility)…these all bring serious hope to those living with the condition.
A vital aspect of this of course is advocacy.
Our government officials, and the media, can only act and thereby facilitate positive change based-upon the information they have. For those living with Chronic Pain, and too, those who love and care for them, we must move to be as vocal as possible to bring awareness to the condition. This is extremely challenging, as is everything else, deepening on the level of pain you are living in, but the stakes and dividends regarding Chronic Pain advocacy are vitally important for us all, especially now as public awareness seems to be increasing.
State-by-State Chronic Pain Legislation and Advocacy Opportunities
The State Pain Policy Advocacy Network (SSPAN) is a tremendous resource for advocacy containing a list, by state, of all current legislation related to pain by the Academy of Integrative Pain Management. You can merely click on your state to see what bills are in the works. They also have resources on the site to help you get in contact with the important, relevant legislators.
The State Pain Policy Advocacy Network
“Debuting in January 2015, SPPAN provides a comprehensive, one-of-a-kind, policy-focused website with dedicated web pages for each of the 50 states so that advocates (that’s you and me and EVERYONE else we can ask for support from) can quickly find relevant information, resources and opportunities for action.”
The SPPAN organization consists of an impressive list of professional groups (from the American Chronic Pain Association to such groups as the American Cancer Society) whose purpose is to help people affected by “life-changing” pain by drawing attention to effective pain policy on the state level—”policy that guarantees access to comprehensive and effective pain care for all people living with pain.”
Their primary driving theory is founded on a grassroots orientation. By focusing upon state-level bills and laws, licensing boards and regulatory agencies and educating and advocating based upon the harsh realities known and experienced by persons living in Chronic Pain, their hope is that great change can be affected. They believe, which anyone living with the condition can attest to, that efforts for positive change have been fragmented and inconsistent so they’ve derived their three-fold mission: to act as an information resource, to network and make connections amongst all stakeholders and finally, to take action, collectively, i.e. to advocate: write, call and actively campaign to improve the healthcare and lives of those who live with Chronic Pain.
Book-marking their web-site and regularly checking in and doing our part sure has the feel of an empowering step towards winning the body, mind and spirit “fight” that is living with the brutal and cruel task-master, Chronic Pain.