No announcement yet.

Racial Differences in Pain Treatment Found

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Racial Differences in Pain Treatment Found

    Racial Differences in Pain Treatment Found
    Library: MED
    Description: African Americans may be disproportionately missing out on effective treatment for their chronic pain --from arthritis to backaches -- and as a result suffering outsize effects on their ability to work, play and enjoy life, a new study finds. (Meeting: American Pain Society)

    March 18, 2003
    Contact: Kara Gavin,, or Krista Hopson,, (734) 764-2220

    EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE March 20, 2003

    Racial differences in chronic pain experience and pain treatment found

    Disparities seen between African Americans & Caucasians in pain and its effects

    Perceptions of health system, economic factors affect blacks' pain treatment

    CHICAGO -- African Americans may be disproportionately missing out on effective treatment for their chronic pain -- from arthritis to backaches -- and as a result suffering outsize effects on their ability to work, play and enjoy life, a new study finds.

    New research results on pain differences between blacks and whites show that, for example, black women are much more likely than white women to have severe pain and related mental health effects when they finally seek treatment from pain specialists. Blacks also had more barriers to getting effective pain care.

    Those findings, from pain researchers at the University of Michigan who are among the first to study racial disparities in chronic pain and its treatment, are being presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Pain Society.

    And although the researchers have not yet found precise reasons for the differences between blacks and whites in how they perceive and handle pain, they suspect that many factors, including economic and cultural ones, are at work. They have additional studies under way to further explore the impact of chronic pain on racial and ethnic minorities.

    "Overall, African Americans with chronic pain have significantly more symptoms than whites when they first seek pain treatment, as well as more pain, depression and impairment in their physical, emotional and social health," says lead researcher Carmen Green, M.D., an anesthesiologist and assistant professor in the U-M Health System's Department of Anesthesiology and pain specialist at the U-M's Multidisciplinary Pain Center. "This has tremendous implications for their quality of life and overall health."

    Green and her colleagues studied African American and Caucasian men and women who were seen at the U-M pain center for chronic pain in recent years. Using standardized survey questionnaires, 3,132 white and 345 black women were asked about their pain, emotional health and disability level.

    In a separate study, the team tallied the answers of 136 white and 101 black patients with chronic pain from a 50-item questionnaire about their pain treatment patterns, perceptions and payment.

    The results parallel disparities that other researchers have found between blacks and other races in other diseases and their treatment, such as cancer and heart disease.

    "Although the health of the U.S. population has improved substantially over the past fifty years, racial and ethnic minorities continue to lag behind non-minorities on many key health indicators," Green notes. "We're starting to understand that chronic pain, which can interfere greatly with a person's work, social and personal life, and emotional and physical health, may be no different from what others have found in other conditions."

    Green and her colleagues on the Michigan Pain Outcomes Study Team began their research after noticing differences between patients of different races who came to the pain center for treatment. Black patients coming to the center for the first time tended to have much more severe symptoms than new white patients, Green explains.

    Pain treatment for both acute and chronic pain has improved tremendously in recent years, with better medications and pain-controlling devices to choose from and better understanding of how pain affects a patient's life. So, Green says, no patient should have to suffer without treatment for pain that interferes with their ability to work, play, exercise, or care for themselves or others.

    But the results of their studies to date suggest that many patients, especially African Americans, are going without treatment until their symptoms become severe and affect their functioning.

    In the study of black and white women with chronic pain, the team found that even after correcting for age, marital status, education level and pain duration, blacks had greater levels of pain, depression, disability and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder than whites.

    All four measures of pain and its effects on mental and physical functioning were much higher in the black women than in the white women, based on their answers to standardized questionnaires that have been designed and validated to provide consistent measurement.

    White women, for example, were 66 percent less likely than black women to score high on the McGill Pain Questionnaire, and 61 percent less likely than black women to score high on the Beck Depression Inventory. The differences between the races were somewhat smaller on the Pain Disability Index and the Post Traumatic Chronic Pain Test. Chronic pain is known to cause or worsen problems with both psychological well-being and overall health.

    In the survey of white and black pain patients of both genders regarding their health care utilization patterns and attitudes, Green and her colleagues noted several significant differences between the races, along with trends that did not reach statistical significance.

    African Americans were more likely than Caucasians to use the emergency room for regular health care services, and reported more visits to the ER for chronic pain. African Americans also waited longer than whites to see a health care provider of any type about their chronic pain.

    Economic factors seem to play a strong part in producing these disparities, Green says. Although the vast majority of all the patients surveyed had health insurance and prescription drug coverage, African Americans were more likely to be covered by Medicaid, and reported more difficulties in affording or paying for their health care in the past year.

    The survey asked patients about their perceptions of how well pain medication controlled pain, and whether gender, ethnicity or culture affected access to pain treatment. Although the differences between the races were not statistically significant, except for black women, Green says she suspects that perceptions of the health care system, attitudes toward pain itself, and cultural norms about expressing pain may play a role in African Americans' pain behavior.

    To explore pain's racial disparities further, Green and her team are now conducting the first-ever prospective study of chronic pain in African Americans under 50 years of age, following them for six months after they first visit the pain clinic. Funded by a grant from the Aetna Foundation, they hope to finish recruiting participants this summer and report results early in 2004.

    Meanwhile, the team has also just received a grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Michigan to study the quality of cancer pain management in African Americans, focusing on a type of pain that occurs in 80 percent of cancer patients before their death but is grossly under-treated. The study will enroll patients who are receiving care at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, and several of its community-based cancer care partner locations, for advanced lung, breast, prostate, or colon cancer.

    In addition to Green, the study team includes Tamara Baker, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow in Anesthesiology and the U-M Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health; research associates Khady Ndao-Brumblay, PharmD, MSc. and Andrew Nagrant, M.P.H.; and research assistant Tamika Washington, B.S.

    The U-M Multidisciplinary Pain Center provides comprehensive services for the evaluation and treatment of patients with chronic, disabling pain. The team-based approach is especially suited for patients who have not responded to other pain treatments. A referral from a physician is required. Visit or call 734-763-5459.


    Comments Africans and Europeans.

    Apart from that in comparison later seeking medical aid might have to do with it, I perceive not the "disproportionate" whatever there.

    It seems magically obvious, that there are often high differences between Europeans and Africans.
    (And Africans seeming to differ magically more compared to each other than Europeans compared to each other.)

    According to my experiences, Europeans in average are often having higher segregations between head and body systems.

    While with African persons magic systems of the body&head tend to be more united in cooperations.

    Therefore just some blocker into a synapse sort, messing into the receptor molecule levels maybe, might not do the job to segregate the magic systems of the body&head.

    Also with Africans I can normally, with one exception here in a university in Berlin, magically phase straight. (Just due to structural differences between us it so far took me up to three minutes, which are rather long rates there for me with one where as such links go straight, just to find more compatible tuning settings.)

    While many Europeans tend to be so sense-censored, that it usually took me about 20 minutes up to 2 hours, just for them to start to reach a stage remotely similar to that reached within minutes with persons with ancestors from lands, where the Inquisition was not.

    In other words, many Europeans are so segregated, and the same goes for White US-Americans, that to segregate there a bit further head systems from the body, to not feel something in the body that much, might not be that difficult.

    While with persons with African ancestors their magic systems tend to be in body&head synchronies so united, that it might be more difficult.

    Just to stick some hardware blocker into some synapse might not do the job the same, if the magic systems keep interphasing, and pain informations can be transmitted also via magic systems, and partially to the sector.
    Stupid white sense censored scientists might usually not notice it, unless someone has for a lost hand just magic systems still active, and then them being so mind-bogglingly stupid to go on ignoring magic systems, and just call it in their illusions "phantom" pain.

    Apart from that, in case this here should have also meant just stuffing drugs into the kidneys and maybe messing around in receptor molecule balances,
    in the attempt to block pain, that is not a solution to cure the sources of the pain.

    I sure could take a pain drugs anytime I have a splinter in the foot, until in the end with all the splinters I look like a hedgehog on drugoverload.

    And if the problem can not be solved by healing the source problem,
    the solution, should magic systems have to do with mentioned differences,
    might lie more in trying to harmonize magic systems balances, than in messing around in them with chemo drugs.
    Or at least the attempt could be made to send the person to the next good magic healer in the area, and then go on if that one can't do a thing.
    Or if he cannot do enough. But to just leave out that entirely, might not be in all cases beneficial.