Medical Professionals to Promote Medication-​Free Pain Relief

BY Rachel Cagle
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"Chronic pain is a common problem for Americans, touching all age groups and demographics, reports Consumer Reports. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last fall estimated that one in five adults (about 50 million Americans) reported hurting every day or almost every day in the previous six months. Nearly 20 million reported pain so severe it limited their ability to work, socialize, and even take care of themselves and their family."

"People with chronic pain frequently have trouble accessing the right care, says Daniel Clauw, M.D., director of the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan Medical School. 'One problem is that there are far too few trained pain specialists,' he says."

"According to one report prepared for Congress by a task force of 29 experts, 'for every physician certified in pain care, there are more than 28,500 Americans living with chronic pain.'”

"Many primary care doctors 'learned to treat chronic pain the same way they treat short-​term pain from surgery or an injury, with opioids,' Clauw says. But most evidence shows these potent drugs don’t work well against long-​term pain, and they come with the risk of addiction, misuse, and overdose. From 2012 to 2017, as opioids came under increased scrutiny, the number of doctors writing new prescriptions dropped by nearly one-​third, according to a recent analysis of insurance claims published in the New England Journal of Medicine."

"Safer, more effective, often non-​pharmaceutical alternatives are gaining favor. In a 2017 JAMA review, Clauw and colleagues outlined an approach for treating chronic pain that can include surgery and medication but relies primarily on other treatments, such as counseling, mindfulness and meditation, hands-​on therapies, and exercise."

"Mounting evidence shows that this combination of strategies, some of which are covered by insurance, works well against chronic pain."

Sixty-​one percent of Chronic Pain Sufferers turned to a search engine to research products or services they were considering last month, according to AudienceSCAN. Many (83.6%) of these consumers prefer to use Google when conducting searches. Additionally, only 17.1% will go past the first page of search results, so SEO is crucial when targeting this audience.

"Any single nondrug approach to treating chronic pain, such as acupuncture or yoga, might offer only modest benefits. But research suggests that combining the treatments is the key to lasting pain relief. 'The current state of treatment in chronic pain is that we have a lot of treatments that work a little bit,' says Clauw, at the University of Michigan, including:

  • Get more/​better sleep: Numerous studies have shown that poor sleep can worsen pain, in part because exhaustion can adversely affect brain function
  • Physical activity: can reduce pain and improve people’s ability to move through their day
  • Hands-​On healing: including acupuncture, massage, spinal manipulation and heat
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: therapists can teach patients to identify thoughts and behaviors that worsen pain, and replace them with new thought patterns designed to calm the nervous system and relieve pain"

Providers of these services and other alternatives for relieving pain can target Chronic Pain Sufferers with digital advertisements. According to AudienceSCAN, these consumers are 32% more likely than other shoppers to find advertisements on social media useful. Additionally, last year, these shoppers took action after receiving email ads (47.2%), either seeing ads on their mobile smartphone apps or receiving ads via text (35.8%) and clicking on text link ads on websites (35.8%). Traditional advertising media shouldn't be left out, though. Within the last year, 59.5% took action after seeing TV commercials and 44.4% reacted to ads they saw in both print and digital newspapers.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.