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A Call to Revolutionize Chronic Pain Care in America: An Opportunity in Health Care Reform

Gina Libby, age 40, has suffered from lower back pain for 20 years.

She traces the pain back to corrective surgery she had in 1990 for a condition called scoliosis, a curving of the spine. Surgeons fused the bones in her spine together and held them in place with metal rods.

At first, the pain was mild... Read more

Chronic pain — commonly defined as pain persisting longer than six months — affects an estimated 70 million Americans and is a tragically overlooked public health problem.

The burden of chronic pain is greater than that of diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.

A 1998 National Institutes of Health (NIH) report concluded that just the economic toll of chronic pain may be estimated at $100 billion a year in the United States. It has increased significantly since then.