Survey finds that eight in 10 Malaysians choose to endure headaches.
GLAXOSMITHKLINE Consumer Healthcare (GSK) recently commissioned the “Panadol Understanding Pain Management Survey 2014” on the perception and attitude of Malaysians towards pain management, conducted by global market research company Ipsos.
It aimed to gain insights into how Malaysians manage pain, and their perception of how pain affects their lives.
The survey involved a sample group comprising 306 Malaysians aged 18 to 65 years from Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, Penang, Ipoh, and Johor Bahru, who have experienced pain in the past six months.
The survey findings revealed that:
·On average, Malaysians suffer from headache twice a month in the past three months.
·Eight in 10 Malaysians choose to endure headache instead of treating it immediately – indicating that there is a significant number of Malaysians tolerating pain unnecessarily, as headache is the most common type of pain, affecting 85% of Malaysians in the past six months.
·The most common perceived causes of headaches are lack of sleep (72%) and work pressure (40%).
·At the same time, seven in 10 Malaysians indicated that pain is a personal issue that has no impact on their behaviour.
·33% of Malaysians realise they are not their usual selves when they are suffering from a headache.
·32% of Malaysians think that they will be grumpy or impatient to those around them, particularly to family members, when they have a headache.
“We commissioned the survey to learn how Malaysians understand pain, their attitudes towards pain, and their behaviour in treating pain. Our aim is to spread awareness on the importance of taking pain management seriously and share accurate information on pain medication.
“Ultimately, we want to help decrease the toll that pain has on our consumers’ lives,” says Katharine Chen, marketing director of GSK Consumer Healthcare Sdn Bhd.
“It is especially important to increase awareness that our personal pain affects those around us, as many of those who suffer from headaches play a nurturing role in our society.
“This is pressing as our survey indicates that primary nurturers such as parents and women are more prone to headaches. Children may feel rejected if their parents are grumpy or seem impatient with them due to untreated pain.
“Research shows that on average, people wait between two to three hours before treating their headache, thus, we want more people to make pain treatment a priority in their lives to avoid unnecessary negative impacts,” Chen added.
In response to the survey, psychologist Dr Anasuya Jegathevi Jegathesan says, “Most people do not believe that pain can change their behaviour. In reality, continuing to endure unnecessary pain has negative effects on one’s emotional and psychological state – and these effects impact those around us.
“Pain can lead to low self-esteem and depression, and those who suffer from pain could experience frustration and mood swings. They may become lonely and isolated, as socialising can be difficult.
“While friends and family are often sources of support for those in pain, relationships can become strained due to the negative or unpredictable emotional state of the person in pain. This can have a far-reaching effect as common pain such as headache becomes more prevalent in a modernising and high-stress society.”
Meanwhile, Dr Gopinathan Raju, consultant anaesthetist and pain management specialist at a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur, shared his experience treating patients in pain.
“Diagnosing and treating pain can be complex, as everyone experiences it differently, and their perception and experience of pain and pain tolerance is influenced by many factors.
“The World Health Organization has formulated a ladder approach for pain management using medications to treat mild, moderate and severe pain.
“For mild pain, medication such as paracetamol is the most common OTC medication used for pain relief. For common headaches like tension-type headache – which can result from triggers such as work pressure, lack of time and sleep, stress and worry, tension and anxiety, and tiredness, it is best to take it early before the headache becomes more intense.”