How Chronic Pain is Impacting the U.S. Population

People experience two types of pain, acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain is a normal sensation that is often triggered by the nervous system to alert you that something is wrong with a certain part of the body. Chronic pain is quite different from this; it persists even after various remedial efforts. The pain signals keep firing through your nervous system for even years after initial injury. Some people even suffer chronic pain in the absence of disease, past injury or any evidence of body damage.

Chronic pain conditions often affect older adults. Complaints from chronic pain include headaches, cancer pain, arthritis pain, lower back pain and neurogenic pains because of damage to the central and peripheral nerves.

Research has shown that over 1.5 billion people around the world suffer from chronic pain. More than 100 million of these people are in the American population alone. Chronic pain in America affects a huge portion of the population cutting across all ages. This translates to the cost of about $600 billion every year in medical treatment for pain along with lost productivity from the working population. Research has also shown that pain is not managed optimally in the US. This amount is definitely in excess and can be reduced.

There needs to be a cultural transformation in the American understanding and approach towards managing pain. For many individuals, chronic pain has become a disease on its own. Therefore, pain management should be addressed in a more comprehensive and interdisciplinary way. Prevention should also be an important goal in pain management. Pain is a huge burden on everyday life for many Americans. Besides the extremely inflated health-care costs, many hospitalized patients who are dying experience severe pain in their last days. An estimated 42 million of the American adults experience chronic pain that disrupts their sleep several nights in a week.

Various effective comprehensive approaches have been adopted for pain management today. Doctors are constantly working on new procedures using the advancement of modern technology. Incorporating various interventions in pain management is crucial to tackling this plague of the American population today. Medical pain management has led to the development of new drugs and combination of medications for personalized treatment of each patient. Doctors focus mainly on nonopioid medical therapy to avoid the habit-forming behavior of repeated use of opioid therapies. This minimizes the common side effect of addiction to pain medication.

Physical therapy is also interacted in pain management, including maintaining a fitness plan, healthy nutrition, home exercises and plenty of sleep. Dealing with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety also reduces pain symptoms during pain management treatment. Poor mental health can greatly increase pain symptoms. Doctors today do not rely on western medicine alone. Pain management techniques from all over the world such as acupuncture from the Far East have been assimilated into the treatment approach of doctors in America today.

These therapies have been effective for thousands of years in their countries of origin and today western medicine is tapping into this through clinical trials to determine the uncovered health benefits.