Their pain is never just one word

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No one knows the impact of pain better than those afflicted by it. For some, it can be hard to express—because pain is never just one word. Each person has their own unique challenges and journey with pain, making pinpointing the root cause feel like an uphill battle. So how can you explore a patient’s pain experience to provide the best treatment? It starts by asking the right questions.

Our latest Haleon Pain Index reveals insights from both healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patients about the impact of pain and how to create positive change.

The Haleon Pain Index (previously known as the Global Pain Index) 5th edition conducted 18,000+ interviews with consumers in 18 countries and 600+ HCPs in 4 countries including the US. It uncovers the perceived impact of pain in patients’ everyday lives—on their health, emotions, motivations, and behaviors—to focus on the human experience. The Haleon Pain Index is anchored in Haleon’s commitment to deliver better everyday health with humanity by breaking down the barriers between HCPs and patients to improve clinical outcomes.

See the pivotal insights from the Haleon Pain Index US fact sheet now.

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Better conversations for better clinical outcomes in pain management

  • The impact of pain is creating a new epidemic

    69% of patients are lonely due to pain

    Pain causes devastating effects on patients' lives

    Pain remains universal, disrupting many aspects of patients’ lives, including their ability to sleep, work, exercise, and socialize. Beyond the physical impact, people in pain experience emotional pain and anguish. Sadly, in the US, 63% of patients in pain find it difficult to be able to enjoy life, and instead feel anxious, misunderstood, helpless, and lonely. As a result, 55% say they isolate themselves, disappearing in their pain, which is leading to a new epidemic of loneliness.

    Statistics on why people in pain do not talk about it

    Society is failing people in pain

    Patients feel it’s not acceptable to talk about pain. The taboo surrounding it is deeply anchored in cultural factors and societal pressure. Consequently, 36% fear that others will make assumptions about them and their pain. Common misconceptions and stereotypes stigmatize people in pain. Those already marginalized by society are impacted the most.

    That’s why the need to discuss pain is critical so that it is better accepted, supported, and understood by HCPs and society. In fact, in the US, 54% of people want doctors to take pain like theirs more seriously. Pain is personal, and there is a real-world need for treating the person behind the pain with empathy.

  • Healthcare professionals are born to care

    Photo and quote from Wendy Wright, Adult and family nurse practitioner

    Helping people is part of your DNA.

    Helping to improve the health and well-being of people is what inspires you. Your passion for putting patients first is profound, and you understand the impact pain has on the quality of life.

    However, there is still a broken dialogue between patients and healthcare providers. Often, healthcare providers don’t feel fully equipped to have the right conversations. As a result, 43% do not ask about the emotional impact of pain. Personalizing pain and looking at it with empathy is critical. Yet, this may be a challenge given the complexities, time constraints, and inability of patients to discuss pain openly, without fear or embarrassment.

    Treating pain and the person behind it

    Healthcare professionals realize the importance of providing holistic care and recognize the power of soft skills when interacting with patients. Experts agree the right resources and training tools can help to:

    • Assess and understand pain
    • Discuss the emotional aspect of pain
    • Convey medical information in a clear manner

    Enriching those skills in addition to investing 5 more minutes with a patient could unlock deeper conversations and better clinical outcomes.

  • More than half of patients delay treatment

    Statistics on treating pain

    A growing self-care movement

    Compared to pre-pandemic times, healthcare professionals have noticed 51% of patients are taking their pain more seriously as part of a growing self-care movement. Patients are more likely than ever to research treatment options and come prepared to discuss how to manage their pain.

    Despite this, the treatment journey can still be challenging, as 53% of patients will delay treatment. Some patients want to avoid taking medications, while others do not want to visit a healthcare provider unless the pain is severe. Nevertheless, healthcare providers need to be sensitive to a patient’s fears and values when having a conversation with them about their pain.

  • Enabling empathy to combat bias and prejudice

    Percentages of people who had issues with pain management

    Why do some populations feel marginalized when it comes to pain management?

    Research shows the answer may stem from a lack of training. Up to 73% of HCPs were not given the opportunity to learn about pain as it relates to other health, gender, age, or ethnicity inclusivity during their professional years, while 25% had no training at all.

    As a result, HCPs find themselves unequipped to deliver more inclusive support. This can disproportionally affect certain patient groups more than others. Some patients may feel that they are being talked down to, not taken seriously, or experiencing bias or discrimination. Understanding that different patient groups each have their own relationships with pain, and might be impacted differently, can help bridge the gap.

    The solution is empathy

    There is an opportunity to make the pain management journey more inclusive by providing representative care at scale.

    Not surprisingly, 60% of people feel more comfortable discussing their pain with a professional of the same gender, age, or ethnicity. Ultimately, more inclusivity comes from recognizing the person behind the pain.

    Driving Change for Greater Health Inclusivity

    Haleon and the Advil Pain Equity Project are committed to helping address pain bias in the Black community through research, education, and collaboration. Learn how we are partnering with organizations and individuals to help solve this systemic issue.

    Learn more

  • Asking the right questions for deeper conversations

    Photo and quote from Dr John Bell

    Pain is more than just a symptom

    Seeing beyond the pain and looking deeper into the person to see how pain affects their life is a critical step to achieving more complete, effective pain management.

    Challenges exist but can be overcome with the right tools and methods. Fortunately, there are ways to maximize time with your patients, so you can gather the data needed to relieve pain effectively. Dr. Bell suggests asking open-ended questions, such as:

    • How is this treatment?
    • How is it working for you?
    • What kind of pain do you have?
    • When is the pain worst?
    • When is the pain better?
    • What kind of things relieve your pain?
    • What questions do you have for me?

    Asking these questions and providing simplified information can help patients feel comfortable with talking about their pain.

    Get more resources

  • Let’s #ListenToPain

    3 images of a man progressing from looking in pain to smiling

    Getting patients to talk about pain has never been easy. Societal and cultural taboos affect how patients talk about pain, even with professionals. Age, gender, and background also change how patients and healthcare professionals engage. However, by acknowledging all these factors and asking the right questions, we can open new avenues of conversation.

    Let’s listen to pain. Start the conversation. With the right interaction, patients don’t have to leave feeling that their pain wasn’t heard. They can leave knowing that you listened to their pain.

Listen to Pain banner: Better conversations for better clinical outcomes

A helping hand from Haleon

At Haleon, we believe in making sure that every patient gets exactly what they need to manage their unique pain experience. The #ListenToPain campaign aims to equip HCPs with the knowledge and tools to better understand their patients’ pain. Using information from the Haleon Pain Index, we’ve established five different patient profiles, describing their relationship with and the handling of their pain. Based on a deep understanding of the human pain experience, these five profiles can help you maximize those precious minutes with patients and individualize your approach.

We’re committed to providing HCPs with new tools and techniques and sharing the latest advances in pain management—innovation that will allow you to better #ListenToPain.

Learn more

Discover more pain management resources below

Resources to help facilitate better HCP & patient conversations

#ListenToPain Tools & Resources

Access resources designed to help your patients navigate pain management.

Learn more

#ListenToPain Patient Profiles

#ListenToPain Patient Profiles

Discover different patient profiles to understand the person behind the pain.

Discover now

The Advil Pain Equity Project

The Advil Pain Equity Project

Learn more about how we are helping to address pain bias through research, education, and collaboration.

Discover now