From 2010 to 2012, the Chronic Pain Research Alliance (formerly named the Overlapping Conditions Alliance) received funding to conduct the Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women. The Campaign was jointly led by organizational leaders of the CFIDS Association of America (now named the Solve ME/CFS Initiative), Endometriosis Association, National Vulvodynia Association, and The TMJ Association.
The Campaign’s major aim was to improve the health and well-being of women living with one or more chronic pain disorders that solely or disproportionately affect women, including myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, temporomandibular disorders, vulvodynia, endometriosis, and interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome. As many as 50 million American women live with one or more of these conditions, and for the majority, our health care system offers frustratingly little help. Because the U.S. government and private sector have shortchanged research on these disorders, they are all poorly understood. Health care providers receive inadequate training on their diagnosis and treatment, and effective, evidence-based treatments are lacking. Additionally, evidence suggests a discriminatory pattern in the medical care provided to women with chronic pain.
During the Campaign, we were able to significantly increase awareness of these issues among key stakeholder groups, including policymakers, representatives of federal health research agencies and industry, clinicians, scientists, media professionals, and the public. This work continues through the efforts of the Chronic Pain Research Alliance.