Hispanics Less Likely To Seek Professional Assistance for Chronic Pain, Study Finds
Seventy percent of Hispanics who have chronic pain reported seeing a doctor for the condition within the past three months, compared with 84% of whites and 85% of blacks, according to the results of a survey published last week in the Journal of Pain, the Washington Post reports. Researchers from Partners Against Pain -- a coalition of patients, caregivers and health care providers funded by a grant from the Purdue Pharma Fund, a subsidiary of the drug maker Purdue Pharma -- conducted a telephone survey of over 1,300 people in April 2002.
Researchers found that about one-third of the participants reported experiencing chronic pain and 20% of those respondents had never sought professional assistance. Hispanic respondents cited lack of health insurance as a major reason for avoiding seeking treatment for chronic pain. About 62% of Hispanic respondents were insured, compared with 84% of whites and 78% of blacks, according to the survey. Another concern cited by Hispanics in the survey was fear of becoming addicted to drugs to treat pain. Venus Gines, CEO of the advocacy group Dia de la Mujer Latina, said, "The study validates what many advocates have said all along: We don't acknowledge pain as something Latinos should do. Showing pain is a sign of weakness. We don't talk about pain" (Fears, Washington Post, 5/28).