25.3 million Americans experience pain daily
New research suggests Americans are in a lot of pain.
More than half of adults – 126 million, or 55.7 percent – experienced some type of physical pain in the past three months, according to a new analysis by the National Institutes of Health. Approximately 25.3 million adults, or 11.2 percent, experienced pain every day.
“Pain affects daily life and function due to the decreased mobility, but it also affects the human spirit,” says Dr. JoAnna Barclay, pain management physician at the Pain Treatment Center at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill. “It’s important to voice one’s pain and seek help.”
The findings, published in The Journal of Pain, also found that nearly 40 million adults, or 17.6 percent, experienced severe levels of pain. People suffering from severe pain were more likely to have worse health status, use more health care services and suffer from more disability. Women, older people, and non-Hispanics were more likely to report pain.
“Adapting family life, work and relationships to the realities of untreated chronic pain could be very frustrating and disappointing,” says Dr. Sebastian Guman, anesthesiologist at the Pain Treatment Center. “Chronic pain is associated with anxiety, depression and impairment in functional abilities. It can also impair the performance of activities of daily living, deteriorating the patient’s quality of life in a major way.”
Besides making an appointment with a physician, Dr. Barclay says those in pain need to make it a priority to exercise, eat healthy and continue living an active and social life.
Dr. Guman stresses the importance of communicating pain as soon as possible.
“It is of fundamental importance that the patients communicate their pain in a timely fashion because when pain is properly treated early, many people can recover and resume their lives,” he says. “Left untreated, pain can result in nerve damage that never heals.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey is an annual survey that asks people about their health- and illness-related experiences.
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