Europeans Are Slow to Seek Treatment

Published Online: Thursday, July 1, 2004

A study, the results of which were reported recently in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, found that 100 million Europeans with musculoskeletal pain endure chronic pain because they do not receive treatment for it. The study involved 6000 individuals with musculoskeletal pain and 1500 physicians in 8 countries.

Results of the survey showed that the management of musculoskeletal pain varied little between the countries, and family physicians believed that they did a good job of managing the condition.Yet, the patients did not always concur. The study revealed that 1 in 4 patients with musculoskeletal pain reported not seeking medical attention, even though between 60% and 75% of the patients said that they experienced pain on a constant or daily basis. The patients who did seek medical attention often waited several months or years before doing so.

The physicians, on the other hand, claimed that they offered all patients some form of treatment for pain. Also, almost all the doctors said that they were trying to improve the quality of life for those patients. German physicians were more likely to recommend exercise, physiotherapy, and acupuncture to patients, compared with physicians in other countries.

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