Many things have changed in the years since MHNI first launched its homepage in 1998. According to the Pew Research Center, 78% of adults are now Internet users; of this growing number, 83% use the internet to research health information.
One matter that hasn’t changed is that pain continues to be a seriously underrated and overlooked public health problem. According to a recent Institute of Medicine report, chronic pain affects at least 100 million American adults—more than the total affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. Pain also costs the nation up to $635 billion each year in medical treatment and lost productivity. Reoccurring severe headaches and migraines affect approximately 16 percent of American adults and are responsible for an estimated annual cost of $14 billion, of which only $1 billion accounts for health care expenditure. The prevalence of chronic pain is expected to rise as the decade progresses.
In short, we belong to an increasingly wired society that is also an increasingly painful society.
On one hand, it is wonderful that the Internet and social media has allowed overlooked populations who once suffered in isolation to connect and exchange information with others who can empathize with or address their pain. On the other, it can be a detrimental and dangerous platform on which misinformation can be disseminated, in some cases by commercial interests or others taking advantage of the Internet’s lack of transparency to promote goods or services. Given this changing landscape, it is now more important than ever that healthcare providers seize the opportunity to provide quality educational material and counter misleading information.
With the launch of our redesigned website, MHNI continues its mission to provide educational resources to persons with pain, their families, health care professionals, and the greater society. Here you will find a wealth of information on headache and other painful disorders; frequent updates; opportunities to participate in research studies; information on our renowned treatment programs; and new portals through which to connect with our dedicated team of healthcare professionals. And of course, you remain a valued partner in all of this; please contact us with any topics of interest or enhancements you would like to see on www.MHNI.com
Joel R. Saper, M.D., F.A.A.N.
Founder and Director, MHNI