Pain By the Numbers

In one of the largest population studies on pain to date, researchers with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate that nearly 40 million Americans experience severe pain and more than 25 million have pain every day. Those with severe pain were more likely to have worse health status, use more health care, and suffer from more disability than those with less severe pain.

“There are so many people in the severe pain category that something has to be done,” said Richard Nahin, the lead author of the analysis and lead epidemiologist for the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the arm of the NIH that funded the study. “If people are in the most severe category of pain, whatever treatment they are getting may be inadequate.” Published in The Journal of Pain earlier this month, the study is an analysis of 2012 data from the National Health Interview Survey. It follows a comprehensive 2011 Institute of Medicine report on pain. The analysis examined pain differences among ethnic groups. For example, Hispanics and Asians are less likely to report pain. The authors of the analysis hope their work will help inform greater research and better treatment options for people in pain.

Source/more: Kaiser Health News

David Wingate is an elder law attorney who practices in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland. The elder law practice consists of wills, trusts, powers of attorneys, asset protection, and Medicaid planning.

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