NIH Analysis Shows More Than 10% of U.S. Adults Have Chronic Pain
The analysis used data from the from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, an annual report that asks thousands of U.S. residents about their experiences related to health and illness. Respondents were asked to report the frequency and intensity of pain they had experienced during the three months prior to the survey.
The analysis found that 11.2% of U.S. adults experienced pain every day in the three months prior to the survey. The data also suggest more than 23 million respondents experienced "a lot" of pain during the same period and more than 126 million experienced some pain.
The analysis also found adults suffering from higher levels of pain tend to:
- Have more disabilities;
- Have worse overall health; and
- Use more health care resources (Dennis, "To Your Health," Washington Post, 8/11).
Lead author Richard Nahin, lead epidemiologist for NIH's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, said, "This report begins to answer calls for better national data on the nature and extent of the pain problem" (Young, CQ HealthBeat, 8/11).
Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, said, "The number of people who suffer from severe and lasting pain is striking." She added, "This analysis adds valuable new scope to our understanding of pain ... It may help shape future research, development and targeting of effective pain interventions, including complementary health approaches." ("To Your Health," Washington Post, 8/11).
Connection to Opioid Misuse
According to CQ HealthBeat, the analysis comes as lawmakers seek to address a nationwide increase in painkiller misuse (CQ HealthBeat, 8/11).
CDC found the amount of painkillers sold in the U.S. has nearly quadrupled since 1999. The department also estimated about 44 people in the U.S. die daily because of prescription opioid overdose.
The rise in prescription drug misuse also correlates with an increase in heroin-related deaths ("To Your Health," Washington Post, 8/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.