Pain in persons who are marginalized by social conditions

Review written by Dr Sandy Hilton info

Key Points

  1. Life expectancy can vary up to 20-30 years based on zip/postal code.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Pain continues to be a global burden both in human suffering and in cost of services. While pain affects all people, there is not equal access to pain management. Numerous studies show that zip/postal code is a key indicator of health, access to care, and life expectancy differences of up to 20-30 years can exist for those living only a few miles apart (1,2).

The authors of this paper set out to address the challenges of providing pain management for those who have been “socially and economically marginalized” (3). It’s important to avoid overgeneralization or stereotyping when looking to identify marginalization, and to remember that people may belong to many groups. Some in marginalized groups are healthy and resilient while others are in need of care that is exceedingly difficult to access.

While pain affects all people, there is not equal access to pain management.
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Take time to listen to and validate the pain experience of the person in pain.

METHODS

The authors lay out the likelihood of pain in some of the populations that are typically excluded from studies due to the challenges of comorbidities or access (see Table 1).

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