Statistics on Chronic Pain Research Note
By Reader's Digest Editors
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Many surveys have been done to determine the pervasiveness of chronic pain in America, and the impact of all that suffering. While the numbers are never definitive -- and often, in contradiction with each other -- they paint a harrowing story. An estimated 50 million Americans live with chronic pain; an additional 25 million suffer acute pain. That is more than the number of people with diabetes, heart disease, or cancer combined. Roughly two-thirds of survey respondents say they’ve lived with pain for more than five years. One in three people report having lost more than 20 hours of sleep each month due to pain. No surprise that pain is the second-leading cause of medically related work absenteeism, resulting in more than 50 million lost workdays each year.Fast Facts:
- Low back pain (27%) is the most common form of chronic pain, followed by severe headaches (15%), neck pain (15%) and facial pain (4%), according to one survey.
- Roughly 63% of pain sufferers have seen their family doctor for help. Another 40% have made an appointment with a specialist, such as an orthopedist.
- Left alone, chronic pain can shrink your brain by 11%, aging it 20 times faster than normal. Small wonder that pain is linked to a higher risk for depression and memory problems.
- In a major survey done in 2000, 60% of Americans said that pain is just something you have to live with. And 28% said they felt there was no solution for their pain.
- In one British study, people with chronic pain had mortality rates 20 to 30% higher than people who were not in pain.
- The outlook is positive, however. Doctors believe that 80% or more of pain can be effectively managed so that it no longer causes disruption in patients’ lives.
nccam.nih.gov — “This fact sheet provides information about complementary and alternative medicine for chronic pain including discussion on acupuncture, massage, spinal manipulation, progressive relaxation, yoga, tai chi, herbs, and glucosamine/chondroitin for lower back pain (low back pain), pain management and pain relief.” View full resource at nccam.nih.gov
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