Chilean Collaboration Aims to Find New Targets for the Treatment of Pain

Pain Research Forum, 31 March 2022

Chronic pain, typically defined as pain lasting more than three months, is a public health issue that impacts the lives of millions of people across the world. It is a particularly prominent concern in Chile, with a 2018 study reporting that one-third of the adult population has some form of chronic pain.

Having such a high proportion of individuals with pain-related issues presents several challenges for the healthcare system in this South American country. One challenge is the lack of pain-educated healthcare professionals, according to PRF Editorial Board member Margarita Calvo, Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago.

“There are very few hospitals with pain units or clinics, so most patients end up being managed by a general practitioner (GP), but most GPs have not been trained on how to properly treat patients with chronic pain. Consequently, many people end up on the wrong medication, or not being treated at all,” said Calvo.

Treating chronic pain in Chile is also associated with a high financial cost. With few pain specialists throughout the country, patients often turn to private doctors to find relief. However, the most significant costs related to these people in pain is their need to take time off from work.

Now, a new consortium led by Calvo has been established to address these challenges. Read more.