15 Sep 10 Key Pain Facts Important to Older Adults
Did you know that September is Pain Awareness Month in the U.S.? That being the case, we wanted to take this month to address pain awareness by publishing some blog posts we think might help our readers. Today’s post discusses ten important pain facts older adults should know.
These facts come directly from a report published by the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA). If you suffer from chronic pain or know someone else who does, you might find the ACPA website helpful. They offer a ton of great information.
1. Chronic Pain Can Come and Go
Chronic pain is generally defined as pain lasting three or more months. However, pain can also be considered chronic when it lasts longer than what is considered the usual recovery time for whatever condition is causing it. Pain doesn’t have to be present at all times, either. It can come and go and still be considered chronic.
2. Chronic Pain Is Often Intractable
Pain is not a physical condition in and of itself. It is a symptom of something else. Unfortunately, that means chronic pain is often intractable, which means to say that it cannot be removed or resolved. It can only be addressed by either treating the underlying condition or blocking pain signals.
3. The Number One Cause of Disability
The ACPA says that chronic pain is the number one cause of adult disability in the U.S. As pain specialists, we are not surprised by that fact. We’ve seen just how debilitating pain can be among our patients.
4. Chronic Pain Frustrates Clinicians
We never want discussions of chronic pain to focus on doctors and nurses. Nonetheless, treating chronic pain can be just as frustrating for us. We want patients to find relief. We want them to live better lives. Sometimes we get frustrated that we are unable to do more.
5. Fifty Million People Suffer
In terms of prevalence, it is estimated that some fifty million people suffer from chronic pain, in this country alone. Imagine what the numbers must be worldwide. It is likely in the billions.
6. Muscle Pain Is Extremely Common
Pain can manifest itself in any part of the body. Unsurprisingly, the muscles are a common source of pain. Some 53% of all American adults experience muscle pain.
7. Lower Back Pain Is Extremely Common
Like muscle pain, lower back pain is extremely common. The ACPA says it’s the most common form of acute pain and the fifth most common complaint doctors here during office visits. They further estimate that treating lower back pain costs some $20 billion per year.
8. Cancer Pain Is Treatable
Though not all cancer patients experience pain, between 30% and 40% do report moderate to severe pain. The good news is that 95% of them are successfully treated with a combination of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical therapies.
9. Patients Are Wary of Pain Medications
A 2002 survey revealed that 78% of American adults believe pain medications are either very or somewhat likely to lead to addiction. Simply put, patients are wary of long-term pain medication use.
10. Pain Incidence Increases with Age
As you might expect, the risk of experiencing chronic pain increases with age. Approximately 43% of all chronic pain patients are over the age of sixty-five. Coming in second are adults between the ages of twenty-five and sixty-four, accounting for 30% of total pain cases.
We don’t want to see patients unnecessarily living with chronic pain. If you’re struggling with chronic pain for which you’ve yet to find any kind of relief, we invite you to visit us at Lone Star Pain Medicine.