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Some statistics on pain in Europe

Discussion in 'Research' started by Gigalos, Nov 16, 2017.

  1. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    I just wanted to post this to further bolster the idea that the way our 'modern western society' approaches pain is nuts. Although the statistics in the US are even worse, they are pretty bad in Europe too, including the Netherlands where I live.

    To do this I skimmed some reports and articles on the subject. I have to admit that I have been picking numbers that serve the TMS idea best, but the fact remains that the ones I state below are still pretty impressive.

    Just a scary fact in general, 70% of the Dutch people got a prescription for medication at least once in 2016! The lowest group were the 5-17 year olds (still 1 in 2!) and of course the highest people over 85 (97/100). I find this baffling numbers, the more because it doesn't include all the people who buy over-the-counter drugs for head aches and what-not and eat them like candy. But anyway, back to pain...

    The most prescribed drugs over here are... drum roll please... Antacids!
    Why antacids? Well, of course to counter stomach problems (most often from stress imho), but also to accommodate the long term use of many other drugs on the list that mess up your stomach including the not far behind runner-up: Painkillers (NSAID's)!
    (source: https://www.nivel.nl/nl/nieuws/ruim-twee-derde-van-de-nederlanders-kreeg-2016-een-geneesmiddel-voorgeschreven (Ruim twee derde van de Nederlanders kreeg in 2016 een geneesmiddel voorgeschreven | NIVEL) ) (sorry, in Dutch)

    No surprise there sadly, because 1 in 5 people in Europe (varies significantly per country! The Netherlands is just above average) suffer from a form of chronic pain (moderate to serious pain lasting longer than 6 months).
    (report 2013, a very good read: http://www.pae-eu.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Pain-in-Europe-survey-report.pdf ).

    Every year 44% of the adult Dutch population suffer from muscoskeletal pain that takes 3 months or longer to resolve: Lower back (21%), neck (15%), shoulder pain (15%), knee pain (12%), upper back pain (6%), elbow/wrist/hand pain (15%), ankle/foot (8%), hip (8%). Just an interesting fact to add, at the time more than half of these people report having pain in two or more locations.
    The problems reported: anything ending on -itis... drum roll please... more than 50%! (tendinitis/capsulitis 17%, osteoarthritis 23%, others >10%). Other problems mentioned are herniated discs (9%), RSI (2%), whiplash (2%), gout (3%), fibromyalgia (2%).
    (study 2003 https://www.sip-platform.eu/files/s... Initiatives/GRUNEN1112 Boek Chronic Pain.pdf )

    I am pretty sure numbers on chronic pain have risen since, studies done in individual countries confirm this.

    There are many more numbers out there, but these were the most striking that I could find in a reasonable amount of time.

    A little shimmer of hope on the horizon though: We have commercials right now from healthcare insurers about mindfulness to prevent burnout! GP's prescribe mindfulness more often nowadays, it is all the rage although I doubt if it is really catching ground. Back surgery on herniated discs is on its retreat as well, surgeons and insurers seem to be more realistic about both the need and outcome.

    Kudos if you made it this far :)
    Tennis Tom, Lily Rose and plum like this.
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I made it this far :)

    It makes for sobering reading. I'd be very interested in the numbers of people who don't visit their doctor or pharmacy first and instead try a gentle or natural remedy be that herbal, mindfulness or yoga. My guess is that number would be next to zero.

    It astonishes me how people still believe that their doctor has the answer. The government here in the UK are pushing for people not to go to their doctor asking for antibiotics (because of their ever-diminishing ability to fight superbugs) yet doctors report that people routinely demand them even if an antibiotic cannot help them. There's this terrifyingly stupid mindset and an utter refusal to assume any responsibility for their health. It's enough to drive you mad.

    It's interesting to reflect upon these stats, and once again I thank God for Saint John Sarno who took the time to connect the dots.

    Thanks Gigalos. I'm feeling healthy, happy and on good form. I wonder what the stats are on that?

    Plum x
    Gigalos, Tennis Tom and Lily Rose like this.
  3. sam908

    sam908 Peer Supporter

    In his books and speeches, Nortin Hadler, MD, makes the point that in many other cultures, people take their aches and pains in stride, as normal concomitants of everyday living; whereas here in the US, we medicalize them, thereby magnifying and perpetuating their duration and severity. This fits in nicely with Dr. Sarno's views.
    Gigalos and Tennis Tom like this.
  4. JoeHealingTms

    JoeHealingTms Peer Supporter

    It is incredible how here in the USA they run ads all day to ask people to GO to their doctors and ask for specific pills, specially anything that is new and recent and have no generic equivalent. I still rage at how this is not ilegal.
    Gigalos likes this.
  5. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Plum, I believe there are some numbers on in the last report I linked (Q5 How many chronicpain patients fromthe Netherlands present themselves for treatment?).

    Antibiotics is a sad story, we even made the giant mistake to allow farmers to add it structurally to the food for their live stock. We got an incredible gift and wasted it due to greed and stupidity. The only hope we have nowadays are bacteriophages, viruses for specific bacteria. This was discovered at the same time as antibiotics, but there are only a couple of countries in the world that apply it. It is impossible to patent bacteriophages, so don´t expect commercial companies to invest in further development as they can´t make money from it. The big advantage would be that viruses evolve together with the bacteria they use for multiplication, something that is not possible with antibiotics. I say, governments please take matters in your own hand and make it harder for big pharma and insurers to dictate how we should approach our health and start your own national bacteriophage banks.

    Please don't make the mistake that the US and Europe are that different when it comes to medicalizing pain. That is why I posted these numbers, to show you that they aren't that far off compared to the US.

    Joe I agree, that should be banned.
  6. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks for that.

    It would be very useful if more reports of this nature were conducted, especially if the net of conditions/symptoms were broadened. I really like these kind of reviews because they help in the sifting and sorting of journal articles. I'm aware that a lot of insightful and beneficial articles are published but they rarely make it to the public. It's always the doom and gloom stories. In the UK there seems to be a story every other day on statins...

    I totally agree with your thoughts on farming and big pharma. It sickens me to see how greed and stupidity have created such destruction. I pray humanity can turn it all around. I don't have much hope of that but who knows?
  7. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    I also read a brilliant report about the statistics on pain by some kind of european patient platform, only to discover on the last page that it was all to push the spinal nerve stimulator from their sponsor. It was sad to see really, so I chucked it.

    Let's count our (European) blessings, for example, we don't have the health insurance system they have in the States. In the Netherlands I can get basic insurance for 1200-1300 euros a year and insurers cannot reject me by law! Yeah! It is not perfect by all means, but at least it is (still) affordable and it needs to be because it is required by law to have insurance. The downside of course is that we are all communists and we aren't even allowed to have guns. I guess that when you're sick it always helps to know someone who is worse off than you, so thank you for that America... ;)
    plum likes this.
  8. JoeHealingTms

    JoeHealingTms Peer Supporter

    Does that amount cover ANY type of illness? I mean, if you get cancer or have an horrific accident, etc, will it cover top notch care or will it be a standarized method and then you are left to your own? What percentage you pay on taxes a year ? I would not like a system in which they force the medical procedure on me just because they can not reject me. I am still outraged by baby Charlie, and how the government in UK decided to let him die, even as there was money raised and at least 2 big name medical institutions claiming that they could help the baby live. I think that equal treatment sometimes also mean less quality or fewer options.
  9. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Almost any type of illness is covered. If you get cancer you get treated, as long as it isn't a rare variant that can only be treated by a drug that is more expensive than gold or diamonds. Yes, you will get care after a horrific accident, revalidation involves physical therapy and revalidation devices, but they will not cover a bionic arm for example. The more medical knowledge we gain, the more expensive health care will become. This is a big problem here and everywhere else in the world. You cannot provide top notch care for every condition as it is simply unaffordable. It will be food for discussion for years to come as we will keep being confronted with more and more terrible dilemma's again and again.
    The baby Charlie example... As a society we need to keep an eye out for people who want access to drugs and procedures that are dangerous to themselves or others (often children) or are downright unethical (like buying organs from an obscure hospital in India for example). I don't know the details about the baby Charlie case, but I guess the British government wanted to prevent parents to keep a child alive with a very poor outcome using methods that are controversial (??). Where do you draw the line in such cases? It is always difficult and will give rise to a lot of emotions on both sides.

    My primary concern nowadays is that some of the rising costs in healthcare are unnecessary and imho unethical. I cannot imagine you disagree, no matter where you come from.
    Pharmaceutical companies ask huge amounts of money for certain drugs and procedures for certain specific rare illnesses, only because they own the patent and can set the price as high as they want. Insurers simply have difficulty covering stuff like that, because it takes away a lot from the money needed for other, more common and proven care. (again, terrible dilemma). Letting pc's dictate prices is a sick way of capitalizing healthcare and I feel nations world wide should join up and put a stop to this. The large amount of medical knowledge we have today is the result of decades if not centuries of spending huge amounts of public money developing it. Then a pc comes along, uses this knowledge that we all paid for, adds a tiny bit to make a medicine for a certain disease and then patents it. I say, f@ck your patents, you are putting 1000%+ margins on your products and that is outright criminal behavior.
    The other concern I have is that medication, therapies and procedures that can't be capitalized often find no footing in modern medicine. TMS is a good example, as you can't build a billion dollar company around it.

    The core issue in a discussion about healthcare is that certain people with money, not all, feel they should get better care than people with less money. When it comes to our personal health we become really egoistic beings. I understand this as we are all beings that ultimately want to survive, it is why we still exist as a species. I don't blame people for thinking the way many folks in the US do, especially when you work your butt off 80 hours a week only to receive the same healthcare as your drug abusing neighbor that steals and sits on its ass all day. But if you let that feeling dictate a health care system, then you take the risk of ending up with a system in which huge amount of citizens cannot afford care or are simply rejected by insurers. Is that fair? Exclude people from common knowledge and know-how that we developed and paid for as a society? Equal treatment sometimes means less quality and fewer options to all, I agree with that observation. But I feel that argument should not be dramatized and certainly should not justify a system where large amounts of people are simply left out in the cold to suffer and sometimes even die, especially when these folks too work their butts off 80 hours a week, but as a result of factors outside their influence zone earn just enough to pay for their basic needs. Maybe this whole discussion is more about the wealth gap than about the resulting health care gap.... You can't make a fair health care system and let the wealth gap grow simultaneously.

    By the way, tax rates per country can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_rates (List of countries by tax rates - Wikipedia)
    I don't mind paying taxes as long as other people and companies aren't given the opportunity to avoid it, but still feel that they can profit from the many benefits it produces. This is a big discussion at the moment in the Netherlands, as we serve as a tax haven for multinationals, not pretty. It is the result of making any market too 'free' and nations not joining forces to put a stop to excesses that the majority of people have to suffer for.
    plum likes this.
  10. JoeHealingTms

    JoeHealingTms Peer Supporter

    You have valid points and others that I do not agree at all. Socialism, in any part of the world can not work without capitalism. Yes, health care should not be that expensive, especially when our government allowed some laws by Congress in which government can not negotiate medicine prices , but then the pharma companies are allowed to sell it super low in other countries, being the same medicine and the same company. I have a pretty good insurance, that my company provides, but not everyone have one. In my view it somehow pushes people to do better and get a better job, which comes with other benefits beside the medical part. People who can not pay here dont pay either way, and people that is in welfare do not pay the yearly deductible, while people that work have to pay it full. There is room for improvement in our system, and with everyone still making money. The problem is that the pharma complex is completely corrupted, not just here but globally, and are associated intimately with the food companies and the banks. And most people here do not work 80 hours a week, unless they are flipping burgers at McDonalds, which should never be a job to support a family, but one for college students and retired people. For example, my brother had the same opportunities that I had to study, but decided not to until he was too old and too compromised. Then he had to work 60 hours a week with 2 jobs because he married and had 3 kids, and his wife do not work. All of those were his decisions. It was not the lack of opportunities or the lack of good paying jobs. I on the other hand, studied a better career that is higher paying and can do with a single 40 hours a week job. So here, mostly you will get what you work for. Medicine is not a right, it is a service, and we personally should also bear some responsibility regarding it in all the aspects. I can not expect to eat trash food all week and then expect my gastric system to work 100% and my health to be top notch. The thing with working to have better opportunities and health, is that you can also buy better services should you want to, and you can chose what to buy. In a social system, you can only get whatever is the standard and others take the decisions for you because you are only a number, and they have to provide the same service to everyone while keeping the price the lowest possible. That is what happened with baby Charlie. They had raised enough money to bring the baby to the USA or to Italy, where alternate treatments where offered, but their government decided for them, which will always leave you with the feeling that somehow your child was taken from you. If you have the money, and it is your son's life on the line, you will try EVERYTHING that you can to keep him alive. The thing is not if it would have worked or not, it is that they were denied a real option based on their present technology and social medicine limitations, not on the limitations of the 2 other centers that were offering alternative treatments. AFAIK, other kids with the same condition as baby Charlie in the USA were alive under the treatment and doing better. I would never accept another institution or person taking my right and my choice of treatment, just because they have to keep it one single way for the masses. If you have a chance, read the book "the cancer cure that worked". It will give you a clear view how the medical mafia works, and how their interest is not the health of the people but the money and power to control society as they see fit. This is how it works, and I hate to know that is precisely the USA which started and supported this medical mafia model that is now used globally.
    plum likes this.
  11. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Joe, great reply.
    Socialism does not work without capitalism, I agree totally. But I also strongly belief that capitalism does not work without a certain amount of socialism. You need a healthy mix of both if you want a system that is relatively fair to everyone. It will never be ideal though. I think both systems are difficult to maintain in the long run, because it is basically largely being hijacked by the medical mafia that you mentioned.
    However sad the baby Charlie case has been, a baby Charlie in the US would be at risk of not getting treatment at all if his parents are poor and live in the wrong part of town. You might not be a number in the states; you are either a person with a name if you have enough money and you are basically non-existent if you don't have it, no matter if you are to blame for that yourself or not. It is a matter of cultural belief which situation is the least unfair to people, but I think we both have to agree that both systems are far from ideal. I prefer the European model, you the American. I suggest we keep it at that :)
    I think it is all part of the human evolution to try different systems and see what works and what not. I just wish sometimes that we stop forgetting the lessons we learned in the past. Giving too much power and money to a small percentage of the people has never been a sustainable system. Dividing all power and money is equally unsustainable. Going to extremes never ends well.
  12. mugwump

    mugwump Well known member

    Wow thats brilliant.

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