all features

Why chronic pain needs to be classified as a disability

15.5 million people in England live with chronic pain. Almost one-third of people with long-term pain experience high-impact chronic pain, which means it hinders their ability to participate in daily activities and enjoy life.

However, even though this condition is disabling, the government does not count it as a disability—and that should change.

Although there are various yardsticks to measure disability against, commonly assessed barriers are those of environment, attitude and institution.

all Essays News opinion

NICE’s Worrying New Chronic Pain Guidelines

It’s the summer of 2012. I am still at university, using the very last of the term-length pool membership I’d bought. I swim 2 miles. That’s 128 lengths of a 25m pool. The walk back up to the main campus is hard, steep and my bag is heavy with my wet costume. I collapse onto my bed. My hands hurt, but four or five doctors can’t tell me why that is. My knees hurt, but after three doctors, I saw one specialist who said it should clear up by the time I’m 20, which I turned last month. I swallow a dihydrocodeine and sleep for 8 hours.

The NICE guidelines released on 7th April recommend analgesics not be used for primary chronic pain. What they do recommend is exercise, antidepressants, acupuncture, and psychological therapies. Paracetamol and ibuprofen, possibly some of the most widely taken drugs outside of penicillin, that usually cost about 20p for a box of 16, they also can’t recommend.