National Pain Month Brings Awareness to More Than 100 Million Americans Who Suffer from Pain
It affects more Americans than diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease combined. It can result in extremely long and costly hospital stays and a decreased ability in daily functioning. And it impacts more than 100 million people in the United States every year.
“As Americans, particularly Baby Boomers, continue to age, pain and pain management are becoming even bigger facts of life as bodies begin to show the wear and tear of decades of use.”
Acute and chronic pain is a sad fact of life for almost one-third of the population. With September designated as National Pain Awareness Month, it is important to examine the costs, causes, and possible ways to prevent acute and chronic pain.
A June 2011 report on pain by the federal Institute of Medicine of the National Academies(I.O.M.) revealed that the cost of chronic pain—both in treatment and lost productivity—may be as high as $635 billion per year. The human cost of pain is just as staggering:
- *A recent survey by Repass Partners showed that 80 percent of people have pain several days or more a week, while 85 percent have more than two areas that are causing them pain (with back pain always cited). Only 27 percent sought professional help.
- *According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 1 in 4 Americans has suffered from pain that lasts longer than 24 hours.
- *ClinicalResearch.com reported that 1 in 3 adults have trouble living independently due to pain.
- *Age-related arthritis and low back problems are big culprits, accounting for up to 60 percent of chronic pain cases, according to a March 2011 Time magazine story quoting the National Center for Health Statistics.
*“As Americans, particularly Baby Boomers, continue to age, pain and pain management are becoming even bigger facts of life as bodies begin to show the wear and tear of decades of use,” said Rajive Adlaka, MD, medical director at Pain Control Associates in Northwest Indiana. “But today’s active boomers don’t tend to suffer in silence. And prevention and treatment options are plentiful.”
Stopping pain before it starts should be a first course of action if possible. Easy tips for preventing lower back and joint pain include:
- *When lifting, always bend your knees and keep the object close to your body. Utilize safe lifting techniques, such as lifting with your legs and not your back, at all times.
- *Maintain a healthy weight to help keep your body healthy and avoid putting extra weight on joints.
- *Warm up and stretch before doing any physical tasks.
- *Stay hydrated to keep your bodily processes operating effectively.
- *While improper exercising techniques can cause pain, exercising and strengthening the muscles that support your knees and back can ultimately keep you healthier longer.
- *Wear protective gear, such as pad kneelers, back braces, or wrap-around kneepads, if you know you will be using certain parts of your body extensively.
If pain treatment is needed, options include rehabilitation exercises, medication, and even surgery as a last resort. Over-the-counter pain remedies, such as pain killers, can help manage pain in the short-term. Another alternative pain relief option that many sufferers have begun to use is electrotherapy TENS units. TENS, which stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, is thought to scramble pain messages to the brain, stimulate the production of endorphins (the body’s natural pain reliever) and improve blood circulation. These drug-free pain relief tools, which can be purchased over-the-counter, have been shown to help users manage pain quickly and effectively.
The Omron electroTHERAPY TENS unit (PM3030) delivers drug-free pain relief that is simple and safe. The device features three programs (for multiple body pains) and five intensity levels, and can help people manage pain in as little as 15 minutes. Follow Omron on Facebook and Twitter to learn more or visit OmronPainRelief.com for more information.