Pain-o-meter: who’s got the ache in America?

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What is Chronic Pain?

Ever had a nagging headache that wouldn’t go away? Or a backache that just seems to be your permanent friend? Welcome to the club of chronic pain!

Chronic pain isn’t a one-time visit from the pain monster, it’s when this monster decides to move in and make your body its home for a long time.

Just How Many People Suffer?

Researchers love numbers, and they’ve been busy figuring out just how many people in the US are putting up with chronic pain. Drumroll, please! The number for 2021 is… 20.9 percent!

That’s more than 1 in 5 adults in the US dealing with chronic pain. But wait, there’s more! Some people don’t just have chronic pain, they have high-impact chronic pain.

This is the type of pain that really messes with your life, making it hard to do everyday things. About 6.9 percent of US adults were in this unfortunate club.

Who’s In the Research Team?

  1. Michaela Rikard, a researcher at the CDC in Atlanta, and her crew were the brains behind this study.

They looked at health survey data from 2019 to 2021 to figure out these numbers. So, you can bet these stats are fresh off the research press!

Who’s Got the Most Pain?

Not all groups of people have the same chance of experiencing chronic pain. The study found that certain groups have higher rates of chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain.

These include non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native adults, adults who identify as bisexual, and adults who are divorced or separated.

Why Does This Matter?

Pain isn’t just annoying, it can really mess with people’s lives. This study gives us an updated picture of who’s dealing with chronic pain in the US. It shows that pain isn’t spread evenly among all people.

These findings can help doctors, policymakers, and researchers figure out why some people have more pain and come up with ways to help them.

The Pain Puzzle: A Deeper Dive

It’s important to understand what chronic pain is to really appreciate this research. Chronic pain isn’t a single disease or condition. It’s actually a symptom of various underlying conditions.

Things like arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, back problems, and many other conditions can cause chronic pain.

Chronic pain is also tricky because it can sometimes exist without a clear cause. Some people may experience chronic pain even after the original injury or disease that caused it has healed.

It’s as if their body’s pain signaling system got stuck in the “on” position.

The Impact of Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can take a toll on people’s lives in many ways. It can limit their physical abilities, making it hard for them to do things they enjoy or need to do.

Chronic pain can also impact people’s mental health, causing feelings of depression or anxiety. It can disrupt sleep and make it hard for people to focus or think clearly.

For people with high-impact chronic pain, these effects are even more intense.

They may find it difficult to participate in social activities, work, or take care of their families. This can lead to feelings of isolation and lower quality of life.

Closing Thoughts

This research brings to light the large number of people who are living with chronic pain in the United States. It highlights the need for effective treatments and strategies to help manage pain and improve people’s lives.

Moreover, it’s a call to action for policymakers and health professionals to address the inequalities in pain prevalence among different population groups.

And finally, it underscores the importance of continued research into the causes and treatment of chronic pain.

If you care about pain, please read studies about why cholesterol-lowering drug statins can cause muscle pain, and new device to treat pain without using drugs.

For more information about wellness, please see recent studies that common painkiller ibuprofen may strongly influence your liver, and how to live pain-free with arthritis.

The study was published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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