Pain is the most common reason individuals seek health care and about 9 in 10 Americans regularly suffer from pain. Each year, an estimated 25 million Americans experience acute pain due to injuries or surgery and another 50 million suffer chronic pain. The adverse consequences of undertreated pain are considerable. Poorly managed acute pain may cause serious medical complications, impair recovery from injury or procedures, and can progress to chronic pain. Undertreated chronic pain can impair an individual's ability to carry out daily activities and diminish quality of life. This monograph explores the pathways of pain, assessment, and treatment options.
An addendum, published in May 2005, updates clinical advances in pain management since the publication of this monograph.