Committed to the Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention of Patients’ Pain

In 1931, Albert Schweitzer wrote, “Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself.” If you have ever performed even the most perfunctory search of the medical literature on some aspect of pain management, you likely have encountered this quotation by the French-German physician and philosopher.

These words still resonate so many decades later, because today pain affects more Americans than diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer combined. Pain is the No. 1 reason patients seek medical care in the United States. According to government statistics, 1 in 4 Americans of all ages—more than 76 million people—have experienced pain with a duration of longer than 24 hours.1 Approximately 25.3 million US adults (11.2%) reported having had pain every day for the past 3 months.2 And nearly 40 million adults (17.6%) report having severe pain.2

Because pain is such a ubiquitous concern among patients in primary care practice, and because its diagnosis, treatment, and prevention can be fraught with pitfalls and challenges, we at Consultant are committed to covering it often, including in special supplements like this one dedicated specifically to pain management.

In this issue, your colleagues offer guidance for discerning migraine pain from so-called sinus headaches, describe patients whose pain had an unexpected etiology, and shine light on new trends in the reasons patients are presenting with pain.

While the pithy sentence above is often quoted in the medical literature, it really only partially captures what Dr Schweitzer was expressing about pain and the role of the healer. Here’s the less-quoted first part: “We must all die. But that I can save him from days of torture, that is what I feel as my great and ever new privilege.”

To read the latest news and clinical information on managing your patients’ pain from Consultant, including peer-reviewed case reports and clinical feature articles, visit the Pain 360 specialty area at To contribute to the pain management dialogue, send a note to or call me directly at (800) 237-7285, ext. 4396. Thank you for reading.


Michael Gerchufsky, ELS, CMPP
Managing Editor, Consultant