50 Million Americans Have Chronic Pain
50 million Americans have chronic pain and socioeconomic status seems to be a common theme among those who suffer from chronic pain. Like many chronic health problems, chronic pain is often not the result of a single trauma or infection but lifestyle. This makes conventional medical approaches less effective alone.
To give 50 million Americans more relief and their healthcare providers more support, we must re-imagine healthcare to be more holistic. Limiting reimbursements to clinical care overlooks the tremendous impact that lifestyle has on health.
Today the CDC released a new report estimating that 50 million Americans – just over 20 percent of the adult population – have chronic pain. About 20 million of them have “high-impact chronic pain” — pain severe enough that it frequently limits life or work activities. The estimates are based on the 2016 National Health Interview Survey of over 33,000 adults.
“Pain is a component of many chronic conditions, and chronic pain is emerging as a health concern on its own, with negative consequences to individual persons, their families, and society as a whole,” reported James Dahlhamer, PhD, of the CDC’s Division of Health Interview Statistics.
Dahlhamer and his colleagues found that women, unemployed older adults, adults living in poverty, rural residents and people without public health insurance are significantly more likely to have chronic pain, while the risk of pain is lower for people with a bachelor’s degree.“Socioeconomic status appears to be a common factor in many of the subgroup differences in high-impact chronic pain prevalence,” they found. “Education, poverty, and health insurance coverage have been determined to be associated with both general health status and the presence of specific health conditions as well as with patients’ success in navigating the health care system. Identifying populations at risk is necessary to inform efforts for developing and targeting quality pain services.”