Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined — Regenerative Medicine can help
Pain is cited as the most common reason Americans access the health care system. It is a leading cause of disability and it is a major contributor to health care costs.According to the National Center for Health Stati stics (2006), approximately 76.2 million, one in every four Americans, have suffered from pain that lasts longer than 24 hours and millions more suffer from acute pain. Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability. The diversity of pain conditions requires a diversity of research and treatment approaches.
Pain can be a chronic disease, a barrier to cancer treatment, and can occur alongside other diseases and conditions (e.g. depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury).
For infants and children, pain requires special attention, particularly because they are not always able to describe the type, degree, or location of pain they are experiencing. Discoveries of differences in pain perceptions and responses to treatment by gender has have led to new directions for research on the experience and relief of pain. For example, medications called kappa-opioids provide good relief from acute pain in women, yet increase pain in men. NIH-supported scientists identified a gene variant of an enzyme that reduces sensitivity to acute pain and decreases the risk of chronic pain.
COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2) is a major contributor to pain associated with inflammation. A study of genes affected by COX-2 led to the discovery of its role in connection to multiple cellular pathways that contribute to pain relief and adverse side-effects. Behavioral interventions for pain also demonstrate promise for providing pain relief either in conjunction with or in lieu of drug interventions. For example, NIH-supported research has demonstrated that individualized pain management programs may reduce cancer pain for some patients.
Unlike acute pain, which lasts temporarily, chronic pain is persistent and the pain signals continue for weeks, months or even years.
The definition of chronic pain is broad, and is generally defined as ‘any pain lasting for more than 12 weeks.’ Chronic pain has a lot of causes, ranging from initial injury or ongoing illness. There may also be no clear cause. As a result, chronic pain can be very hard to treat and can have negative impacts on patients’ lifestyles. If you or a loved one suffer from chronic pain, you are not alone.
We bring you key facts and statistics related to who is affected by chronic pain, its costs and how to manage it:
1) More than half of all adults in the United States have experienced chronic or recurrent pain in the past year.
2) Four most common types of chronic pain are:
- Low back pain (27%)
- Severe headache or migraine pain (15%)
- Neck pain (15%)
- Facial pain (4%)
The figures provided are from participants taking part in a National Institute of Health Statistics survey.
3) Women are more likely to experience the four most common types of chronic pain, and twice as likely to suffer from severe headaches, migraines or facial pain than men.
4) Age is an important factor when it comes to who is affected by chronic lower back pain. People 18-44 years old were less likely to experience lower back pain compared to those aged 45 and over, as found in a survey by the CDC.
5) Lower back pain is the most common form of frequent or chronic pain, affecting more than 26 million Americans between the ages of 20-64.
6) 7% of ongoing lower back pain cases develop into chronic pain.