Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) today released data from a survey demonstrating several struggles for those with chronic pain during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey, commissioned by Medtronic and conducted by public opinion research firm The Harris Poll, found that 44% of current chronic back and leg pain sufferers experienced care delays during the COVID-19 pandemic despite 87% reporting that their pain has not improved — or has even worsened — since the pandemic began two years ago in March 2020.
A total of 810 U.S. adults who experience chronic back or leg pain participated in the survey, which found far-reaching impacts of the condition on patient lifestyle, everyday activities and mental state. Those impacts were further exacerbated by the pandemic’s impact on stressed health systems and the ability of patients to seek timely care, Medtronic said.
More than half (52%) of the survey takers who reported worsening chronic pain during the pandemic cited challenges in receiving appropriate medical care as a contributing factor. For those who proactively postponed their medical care, 55% cited COVID-19 fears as a contributing factor.
Many people with chronic back or leg pain reported detrimental physical and mental impacts, with the ability to work and sense of mobility/function negatively affected. Two-thirds (66%) of participants said their mental health was negatively impacted, citing feelings of frustration, annoyance, exhaustion and depression.
Almost all (90%) of participants said they wish there were more treatment options available to manage their pain, with knowledge of traditional treatment options (physical therapy and oral medications) far more common than targeted drug delivery (only 38% were familiar) or spinal cord stimulation (34% were familiar).
“This data bears out what we’ve heard from our clinician customers and patients for two years – the pandemic has been especially hard on those with chronic pain,” Medtronic VP and GM of Pain Therapies within the Neuromodulation business Charlie Covert said in a news release. “There is a tangible human cost to deferred procedures and delayed care. As COVID-19 hopefully begins its transition to a more endemic disease, we expect many of these patients to urgently seek relief through new or more effective treatment modalities. Our survey demonstrated that an overwhelming majority want more treatment options, yet awareness of spinal cord stimulation and targeted drug delivery options remains relatively low. That represents an opportunity to educate patients about the full range of options available to help alleviate their pain.”