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Although relief of pain and suffering is fundamental to the healing arts, analgesia is not available to all who seek it. Significant disparities in pain management persist, especially for medically underserved populations. This issue of Healing Hands explores some of the reasons why pain suffered by individuals who are homeless is often undertreated. Articles focus on pain assessment techniques, recommended treatment modalities to alleviate acute and chronic pain, and therapeutic challenges presented by patients who “self-medicate” with alcohol or illicit drugs to cope with unrelieved pain. (Authors)
Many homeless people suffer acute pain from trauma, unattended tooth decay and advanced gum disease, abscesses resulting from wound infections, and complications of illness or injury exacerbated by unsafe and unsanitary living conditions. Left untreated, acute pain can become chronic. HCH providers see a wide variety of chronic, non-malignant pain2 —of musculoskeletal origin (low back pain, post-traumatic arthritis); neuropathic pain associated with diabetes, HIV, hepatitis, or alcoholic cirrhosis; and chronic pain secondary to advanced peripheral vascular disease, headaches, or incomplete recovery from surgical procedures, among other causes. (Authors)
Journal
2004
Healing Hnads
8
5
1-5
Nashville, TN
615.226.2292
National Health Care for the Homeless Council