How Common Is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is often a blanket diagnosis used to explain pain that persists consistently over a period longer than 3-6 months.  However, chronic pain can result from many different disorders and injuries.  Unfortunately, many of these problems come from common accidents, such as motor vehicle accidents or slip and falls. 

Perhaps most frequently, chronic pain can often occur after a back injury.  The major back injuries that can lead to chronic pain are slipped/bulging discs, spinal stenosis, compression fractures, soft tissue damage, traumatic fractures (such as from accident or crash injuries), or diseases like lordosis and scoliosis.  Additionally, headaches and joint pain are also major sources of chronic pain.  Chronic pain can also be neuropathic (affecting nerve endings), such as sciatica and carpal tunnel. 

Chronic pain can take many forms, but the important thing to remember is that this pain should not be ignored or underestimated.  If not properly treated by a trained physician, it most likely will remain the same or worsen over time.  Chronic pain is much more common than you might initially think.  You might not realize just how many Americans suffer from chronic pain without taking a look at recent statistics and surveys.

According to a 2012 Gallup-Healthways poll:

  • about 1 in 2 Americans suffer from some type of chronic pain.
  • 31% of American adults report chronic back/neck pain
  • 26% report a leg/knee condition, and 18% have another type of chronic pain.
  • 47% report 1 or 2 types of the pain listed above 
  • 7% report experiencing all three types of the pain listed above.
  • When the numbers from the survey were broken down further, it was reported that one in five people between their 40s and 80s experienced recurring pain. Interestingly, reports of chronic pain increased between ages 18 and 59 (from 16% to 37%), but those chronic pain reports stopped increasing once people turned 60.  

These numbers suggest that the occurrence of chronic pain among the nation's adult population is much higher than most people realize.  Chronic pain is also often caused by a traumatic injury, such as ones that result from a car crash or slip-and-fall.  If you have pain that persists more than 6 months, it is often considered chronic and may require a lifetime of medical care and expenses.  In those situations, it may be prudent to consult with an attorney if you have chronic pain that has resulted from an injury due to the fault of another. Attorney Doug Stoehr takes cases for central Pennsylvania residets who have been injured and are experiencing chronic pain due to the fault of another, such as a car accident or slip-and-fall injury. For more information, please contact his law firm at 814-946-4100.

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