1 in 5 US adults suffers from chronic pain

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Chronic pain is a significant health issue affecting millions of individuals worldwide.

It has been estimated that approximately 20.9 percent of adults in the United States experienced chronic pain during 2021.

This finding was reported in a study published in the April 14 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The study was from the U.S. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC in Atlanta.

The team used data from the 2019 to 2021 National Health Interview Survey to provide updated estimates of the prevalence of chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain among adults in the United States and within different population subgroups.

The researchers found that 20.9 percent of adults in the U.S. experienced chronic pain during 2021, which equates to approximately 51.6 million people.

Additionally, 6.9 percent of adults reported experiencing high-impact chronic pain, which means that their daily lives were substantially affected by their pain, and this translates to approximately 17.1 million individuals.

The study also highlighted that some populations experience a higher prevalence of chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain than others.

For instance, non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native adults, adults identifying as bisexual, and adults who are divorced or separated were found to have a higher prevalence of chronic pain.

The findings of this study are significant because chronic pain has a substantial impact on an individual’s quality of life and can lead to a range of physical, psychological, and social problems.

Furthermore, chronic pain is often associated with long-term opioid use, which can lead to opioid addiction and overdose.

Therefore, understanding the prevalence of chronic pain and identifying the populations at the highest risk of chronic pain is critical in developing tailored interventions and strategies to address this issue.

Overall, this study provides updated estimates of the prevalence of chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain and highlights the disparities in pain prevalence among different population subgroups.

The findings of this study can guide policymakers, clinicians, and researchers in developing targeted interventions to reduce chronic pain and its associated negative consequences.

How to manage chronic pain

Managing chronic pain can be a challenging and complex process, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, here are some strategies that may help:

Medications: There are various types of medications that can help manage chronic pain, including over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, prescription opioids, and other types of prescription medications like antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and muscle relaxants.

It is important to work with a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate medication(s) and dosage for your specific type of pain and health condition.

Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help improve mobility, strength, and flexibility, which can help reduce pain and prevent future injuries.

A physical therapist can create a customized exercise program that is tailored to your specific needs and abilities.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a form of talk therapy that can help you manage chronic pain by teaching you new ways of thinking about and coping with pain.

It can also help improve your overall emotional well-being and quality of life.

Mind-body techniques: Mind-body techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and guided imagery can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can contribute to pain.

These techniques can also help improve sleep, which is important for managing chronic pain.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to help relieve pain.

While research on its effectiveness for chronic pain is mixed, some people find it helpful.

Lifestyle changes: Making certain lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol use can help improve overall health and reduce pain.

It is important to work with a healthcare provider to develop a personalized plan for managing chronic pain, as every person’s situation is unique.

Additionally, be sure to report any changes or concerns to your healthcare provider, as they can help make adjustments to your treatment plan as needed.

If you care about chronic pain, please read studies that drinking electrolytes, not water, may help reduce muscle pain, and this pain reliever may increase your risk of hip fracture.

For more information about wellness, please see recent studies that Krill oil could improve muscle health in older people, and eating yogurt linked to lower frailty in older people.

The study was conducted by S. Michaela Rikard et al and published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

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