September is Pain Awareness Month in the U.S. and I thought I would post some interesting facts you might not know about chronic pain in our country.
A Nation in Pain ~ The Facts
- More than 100 million American adults struggle with chronic pain. This is more than those with diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.
- The most common causes of chronic pain are back and neck pain, arthritis, recurrent headaches, neurogenic (visible or explained) and psychogenic (not visible or explained) pain and cancer pain. (*see note below)
- Chronic pain is the number one cause of disability in the U.S.
- More than $600 billion dollars annually – the financial burden of chronic pain on our society.
- People with chronic pain are twice as more likely to commit suicide, which equates to about 20,000 chronic pain sufferers taking their own lives every year. Surprisingly, they don’t do this because of the actual pain, but typically it is a combination of 1) the burden they feel they are and 2) the progressive isolation from society.
- Nearly one-third of all Americans will experience chronic pain at some point in their life.
- Despite the numbers, the U.S. continues to invest meagerly in chronic pain research (only 4 cents per patient in 2015) and fails to effectively train and educate health care providers on the proper assessment and management of pain.
*Note: the definition of psychogenic is “originating in the mind or in mental or emotional process; having a psychological rather than a physiological origin.” However, current research shows that pain without visible damage or origin is NOT necessarily psychological and/or emotional. When talking about pain, the word psychogenic is also used to imply pain without visible damage or origin. In other words, pain is not all in the head just because current science has failed to figure it out yet.
Image Credit: Linzie Hunter