Gov. Snyder Proclaims September as Pain Awareness Month; State of Michigan One of Nation's Best Sources of Pain Management Information

Contact: Melanie Brown 517-373-9280
Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

SEPTEMBER 4, 2013 - Governor Rick Snyder issued a proclamation recognizing September as Pain Awareness Month to make citizens aware of the many pain management resources available and bring attention to the financial and personal costs related to the chronic pain that impacts an estimated four million Michiganders – costs such as increased health care expenses, lost productivity and lost wages.

"Michigan is a nationally recognized leader in providing pain management information,” said LARA Deputy Director Shelly Edgerton. “Our goal is to provide comprehensive educational resources for health care professionals as well as the public to help improve pain and symptom management in our state which in turn will help improve the quality of life of our citizens.”

Michigan's Public Health Code states that Michigan patients and residents in state-licensed facilities are entitled to adequate and appropriate pain management as a basic and essential element of their medical treatment. Many types of treatment, both non-pharmacological and pharmacological are available to manage or greatly ease most pain.

The American Medical Association reports prescription drug abuse has reached crisis levels; overdose and deaths from opioid analgesics have more than quadrupled in the U.S. since 1999.  At the same time, a great deal of human pain and suffering remains inadequately treated.  Although some chronic pain sufferers benefit from prescription opioids on a long term basis, many other do not benefit or suffer harm.  Effective pain management does not always mean pain pills.

“Information on pain management is continually growing and changing,” said BHCS Director Carole Engle.  “Each year new studies reveal more information about this complex health care issue.  Chronic pain can come in many forms.  A multidisciplinary approach is often needed for effective pain management.  We provide the resources for the health care provider and the patient to work together to properly and safely assess, treat and monitor that individual’s pain.”

State resources dedicated to effective pain management include the Bureau of Health Care System’s Pain and Symptom Management website at which offers information for the public and health care professionals.   Consumers will find information on treatment options, end of life care, palliative care, state and national guidelines and recommendations, legislation, resources, data, and links to organizations with expertise in the area of pain and symptom management. 

Health care professionals can access the Model Core Curriculum on Pain Management for Michigan Medical Schools, and Pain Toolkit for Health Care Professionals.  Medical providers may also sign up for conferences such as the upcoming Scope of Pain Training.

Michigan’s Automated Prescription System (MAPS) at is the prescription monitoring program for the State of Michigan.  MAPS has proven to be effective for ensuring the safety of patients using prescription pain medication. 

Engle said there are many safe and effective options available as alternatives to medication, such as hot/cold therapy, physical therapy, exercise, acupuncture, stress management and relaxation techniques.  Appropriate treatment saves lives, reduces pain and suffering, decreases hospital stays and saves money by reducing overuse of health care resources.  Pain is a personal experience and unique to each individual.  If pain is undertreated or goes untreated altogether, it can cause other serious symptoms. Some of these include: depression, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, sense of hopelessness/isolation, and loss of appetite.

For more information on managing pain, consumers should visit LARA's Bureau of Health Care Systems' Pain Management website:

For more information about LARA, please visit
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