1 in 12 americans lives with debilitating chronic pain

September 15, 2018 by Steven Reinberg, Healthday Reporter

(HealthDay)— Of the 50 million Americans living with chronic pain, the pain is so bad for 20 million that it keeps them from doing the daily activities of life, researchers say.

According to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and high-impact chronic are more common among women, older adults, the poor, people previously employed, those with public health insurance or living in rural areas.

Not only is chronic pain widespread, it lies at the root of the epidemic, said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Conn.

"Potentially overlooked is the crisis that precipitated the opioid crisis—the high prevalence of chronic pain in need of relief," he said.

The CDC report is a reminder that an epidemic of chronic pain existed before it was compounded by an epidemic of opioid misuse, explained Katz, who was not involved with the new study.

Chronic pain must be prevented more often and treated with compassion, effectiveness and safety once it begins, he added. "Efforts to limit the harms of opioid analgesics cannot result in neglect of patients' pain," Katz said.

Coping with chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain are associated with restrictions in mobility and daily activities, opioid dependence, anxiety, depression and a poor quality of life, according to the study authors.

In addition to the suffering of millions of citizens, chronic pain costs an estimated $560 billion each year in medical expenses, lost productivity and disability programs, the researchers said.

In light of these problems, mainstream medicine must embrace valid approaches to pain management other than drugs, Katz suggested.

"This is already an established objective among those dedicated to state-of-the-art pain management, but it must become the routine standard of care," he said.

Care must be more holistic and patient-oriented, Katz stressed.

A prescription for an opioid is a quick, easy response from a busy doctor. "But the patient in pain might improve with better sleep, stress reduction and relief of loneliness," Katz said.

Dr. Mark Bicket, an assistant professor of anesthesiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said that effective pain management needs to be a team effort. "Appropriate treatment for chronic pain involves more than just medicines," he explained.

Managing chronic pain effectively involves a group that includes doctors, physical therapists and others, and activities like yoga or meditation, Bicket said.

And non-narcotic painkillers—such as Aleve or Tylenol—may be just as effective in controlling chronic pain. Typically, a combination of a painkiller and exercise or physical therapy is the most effective way to manage chronic pain, he said.

"If you are living with chronic pain, you are not alone," Bicket said. "And you deserve to have a discussion about the different options to treat your pain."

The researchers, led by James Dahlhamer, of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, published their findings Sept. 14 in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Explore further: CDC: about one in five U.S. adults have chronic pain

More information: David Katz, M.D., director, Yale University Prevention Research Center, New Haven, Conn.; Mark Bicket, M.D., assistant professor, anesthesiology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Sept. 14, 2018, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Visit the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for more on chronic pain.

Related Stories

CDC: about one in five U.S. adults have chronic pain

September 14, 2018
(HealthDay)—About 20.4 percent of U.S. adults have chronic pain and 8.0 percent have high-impact chronic pain, according to research published in the Sept. 14 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's ...

Chronic pain may be an important contributor to suicide

September 10, 2018
Chronic pain may be an important contributor to suicide. Nearly 9 percent of people who died by suicide in 18 states from 2003 to 2014 had documentation of chronic pain in their incident records. Findings from the National ...

North-South chronic 'pain divide' evident in England

September 11, 2018
England has a North-South 'pain divide', with a clear geographical split in the prevalence and intensity of chronic pain and the use of potentially addictive opioids for symptom relief, reveals research published in the online ...

Poorest Americans most likely to have used prescription opioids—and most users view opioids positively

September 12, 2018
Among older Americans, the poorest are the most likely to have used prescription opioids, according to a University at Buffalo study providing new insights into unexplored contours of the opioid crisis.

Elder abuse not associated with risk of chronic pain

April 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Elder abuse and neglect (EAN) is not tied to the risk of chronic pain, according to a study published online March 30 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Recommended for you

Synthetic DNA-delivered antibodies protect against Ebola in preclinical studies

November 13, 2018
Scientists at The Wistar Institute and collaborators have successfully engineered novel DNA-encoded monoclonal antibodies (DMAbs) targeting Zaire Ebolavirus that were effective in preclinical models. Study results, published ...

Scientists illuminate causes of hepatitis B virus-associated acute liver failure

November 13, 2018
National Institutes of Health scientists and their collaborators found that hepatitis B virus (HBV)-associated acute liver failure (ALF)—a rare condition that can turn fatal within days without liver transplantation—results ...

New strategy discovered toward possible prevention of cancers tied to mono, the 'kissing disease'

November 12, 2018
Researchers from the University of Minnesota, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the University of Toronto have discovered a possible path forward in preventing the development of cancers tied to two viruses, including ...

Combination therapy promising against blindness-causing bacterial keratitis

November 12, 2018
Multidrug-resistant bacterial infections of the cornea are a leading cause of blindness and cannot be effectively managed with current ophthalmic antibiotics. A team of investigators has now devised a combination therapy ...

Hepatitis C treatment can be shortened in 50 percent of patients, study finds

November 12, 2018
Hepatitis C drugs cure more than 90 percent of patients, but can cost more than $50,000 per patient.

Salmonella found to be resistant to different classes of antibiotics

November 12, 2018
Brazil's Ministry of Health received reports of 11,524 outbreaks of foodborne diseases between 2000 and 2015, with 219,909 individuals falling sick and 167 dying from such diseases. Bacteria caused most outbreaks of such ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.