Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chronic pain lowers life expectancy

cweinbl posted:
Previous research has demonstrated a clearly negative influence of chronic pain on health. Now, a new study portrays a profound link between severe chronic pain and death; inflicting nearly a 70% greater mortality risk than even cardiovascular disease.

Even after adjusting for various confounding sociodemographic factors and effects of long-term illness, patients with severe chronic pain had a 49% greater risk of death compared with all-cause mortality and a 68% greater risk of death compared with all cardiovascular-disease-related deaths.

The most critical information to take away from this research is that withholding appropriate pain medication is a virtual death sentence. Physicians who "don't believe in" using narcotic pain medication must read this comprehensive new research study. By withholding appropriate treatment, these physicians are sentencing some of their patients to an early death.

Secondary to this, families and friends of severe chronic pain patients must never try to dissuade the patient from using all appropriate treatments and medications to reduce pain. Convincing such a patient to avoid narcotics, if and when they are appropriate, is equivalent to pushing them into an early grave.

Instead, physicians and families must encourage the chronic pain patient to employ each and every possible treatment, including comprehensive pain management programs and powerful pain medications. It is no longer a matter of making someone more comfortable. It's a matter of life and death.

This new research is comprehenisve, vetted and validated. The methodology is convincing. The group sizes are well over minimum levels.

Read the entire article here: http://updates.pain-topics.org/2010/04/severe-chronic-pain-is-killer-study.html

REFERENCE: Torrance N, Elliott AM, Lee AJ, Smith BH. Severe chronic pain is associated with increased 10 year mortality. A cohort record linkage study. Eur J Pain. 2010(Apr);14(4):380-386 [abstract here >


  1. I don't see where there is evidence that taking pain meds will help with the life expectancy situation. This study makes it sound like it is the chronic pain that reduces the life expectancy so it's a huge leap and assumption to think that just because someone takes pain meds they might live longer than if they didn't. Do you see what I'm saying? Studies are suppose to be taken exactly as they are written without making any assumptions.

  2. You are right that a scientific study should only be used in the context of its original hypothesis, but it's also within the parameters of the study that alleviating the pain should increase life expectancy. By the same token, an actuarial table of people with cancer would certainly be effected by the cancer victims who received treatment and those who did not.

  3. Good point that research from one study cannot be applied to any other study to prove one's own hypothesis (e.g. Richard J. Herrnstein's & Charles Murray's infamous racist book "The Bell Curve" copying & pasting results from a myriad of differing studies to support their completely unrelated hypothesis/agenda). However, Anonymous II has an excellent rebuttal for real-life application.