How can we avoid getting trapped in pain? We should think about it before we begin to talk about pain therapy and pain prevention. When we look at the statistics, we will see unbelievable results. They show that pain looks like a trap laid in our life and it only depends on us if we get trapped in it or be able to eliminate this daily risk.
Pain is an enormous problem globally. Estimates suggest that 20% of adults all around the world suffer from pain, and 10% of world’s population gets diagnosed with chronic (long-term) pain every year. The importance of looking at pain as a trap allows us to understand it as an everyday risk able to inhibit the quality of our lives for a long time. Addressing the pain as a global problem will give due attention to this matter. Doing so means that most of us will have a more comprehensive understanding of pain risk and develop an appropriate knowledge about how to eliminate potential sources of pain.
Who suffers from pain in the United States of America? Let’s have a look at the situation in there. Four out of ten (42%) American adults experience pain daily and nearly all Americans (89%) over the age 18 encounter it each month. 22% of primary care patientsreport persistent pain, 50% of working-age people admit to having a back pain symptoms every year, and 83 million adults in the U.S. are affected by pain in a significant manner.
What is pain? It is a sensation associated with a wide range of injuries and diseases, and sometimes is a disease in itself. Some cases may involve pain coming from less known sources, such as postoperative pain or the one associated with cancer. On the other hand, pain can sometimes represent a primary problem, such as neuropathic pains or headaches.
How much does a pain cost in the United States? Millions suffer from acute (lasting less than 3 months) or chronic (lasting longer) pain every year. The effects of it represent a tremendous amount in the U.S. health care costs, rehabilitation and decreased work productivity, as well as the emotional and financial burden placed on patients and their families. The unrelieved pain can result in longer hospital stays, increased number of re-hospitalization and/or outpatient visits, and in one’s decreased ability to perform common activities that can eventually lead to lost income and dropped insurance coverage. Hence, patient’s unrelieved chronic pain often results in one’s inability to work normally and to maintain a health insurance. According to a recent Institute of Medicine Report: Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research, pain is a significant public health problem that costs society at least $560-$635 billion annually, an amount equal to about $2,000. per person living in the U.S. This amount contains the total increase of health care costs due to pain, ranging from $261 billion to $300 billion and also the $297-$336 billion increase due to lost productivity (based on sick days having had to be taken, hours of lost work, and lower wages).
What does it mean for me? Pain is a trap. Most of us are unable to get rid of it on our own. However, all of us are able to dodge this trap by understanding the sources of pain and by an active prevention of it happening in our everyday lives.