Studies of the incidence, prevalence, severity, and treatment of pain have a number of shortcomings. Often, pain is evaluated and reported without stratifying for heterogeneity with respect to pain type, disease type, disease treatment, and response to treatment. Durations of pain may be days, months, or years, but assessments often are performed cross-sectionally rather than longitudinally, thus failing to assess patterns and trajectories. Cohort studies that will provide clinicians with information regarding the incidence, severity, and duration of pain will be useful in determining the epidemiology of pain.
Furthermore, there is a need to recognize and apply the rapidly emerging wealth of genetic information for improving pain management and control. Pain research and genetic research are both in an early stage of investigation and a particular challenge for epidemiologists is to incorporate molecular epidemiology methods to pain research. Epidemiologists will increasingly be called upon to identify genetically high-risk (susceptible) subgroups that disproportionately suffer from pain, and could greatly benefit from early pain interventions. Nevertheless, further integration of molecular epidemiology methods to pain research, coupled with incorporating knowledge about pain from other disciplines can lead to a better understanding of chronic pain in populations and potentially for individualizing pain therapy.
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Do You Suffer From Chronic Pain? Do You Feel Like You Might Be Addicted to Pain Killers For Life? Are You Trapped on a Merry-Go-Round of Escalating Pain Tolerance That Might Eventually Mean That No Pain Killer Treats Your Condition Anymore? Have you been prescribed pain killers with dangerous side effects?