It is estimated that over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain— accounting for more patients than diabetes, coronary heart disease, and cancer combined. While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert of injury, chronic pain is different in that it is persistent and keeps pain signals firing in the nervous system for an extended amount of time. The total incremental cost of pain ranges from $560-$635 billion in the United States alone, which combines medical healthcare costs and economic costs related to disability days and lost wages/productivity. Sadly, it is estimated that 50-75% of patients die in moderate to severe pain. The quality of life impact is also widespread: a recent survey showed that 59% of respondents said pain impacted their overall enjoyment of life, 77% reported feeling depressed, and 70% said they have trouble concentrating.
The purpose of this workshop is to review the fundamental diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to pain management in a functional medicine treatment paradigm. Fittingly, the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of pain syndromes will also be reviewed along with the regulatory status of appropriate use.