I was watching last week as Dr. Oz declared in earnest that new information shows chronic pain is a disease (http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/your-chronic-pain-disease-pt-1). Other sites are now talking about this concept as well (http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-a-disease-why-does-it-still-hurt).
The definition of a disease is A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. This is as per Wikipedia. You can read the full definition here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disease.
After treating thousands of people in pain, throwing pain which is poorly understood by the medical community into a disease category by definition is correct, however, many people will misunderstand that this is just a classification, or a way the medical profession uses to grasp a problem within its paradigm. My concern is that it does not truly address why people are in pain and will lead to more ineffective procedures which are dangerous and more people becoming dependent on drugs.
The cause of most chronic pain is known, however, it requires an understanding of body mechanics that goes beyond the symptoms. As noted in the book Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain, body style is at the core of chronic pain.
An asymmetrical body style which is inherited will inevitably cause pain because of the strain to the joints and the way the body accommodates to pain.
In the episode from Dr. Oz, he had shown vignettes and tried to empathize with those who were experiencing pain. As someone who has quite a bit of experience with this, those in chronic pain for a long period of time will neurologically accommodate and not always in a good way. Is mentioned in the book, Fibromyalgia attempts to classify this however, since the people who created the classification had a poor understanding of why people hurt other than some studies and some journal articles, the classification often cripples people by placing them on the wrong path to relief. The idea that all chronic pain is a neurological problem is simply wrong, and then using a blanket statement calling it a disease, not unlike diabetes or cholera gives people the wrong impression. If it gets bad enough because of physical problems that are never addressed, it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. Training people that they now need to visit pain specialists who treat pain vs. understanding and treating the underlying mechanical basis for it is not cost effective, or scientific or safe.
Before we try to justify chronic pain as a disease, we need to train doctors not to treat pain, but to understand why people hurt and the mechanisms behind it. Without this, this new idea will be expensive, ineffective and harmful to the public at large.
What to you think? As always, I value your opinion.