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THE FACTS

CHRONIC PAIN: DID YOU KNOW?

Long-term Disability
Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability.1
Annual Cost
The annual cost of chronic pain in the United States is more than the yearly cost for cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined.
Extremely Prevalent
Chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined.2
Widespread
Over 100 million Americans are affected by Chronic Pain.3
Frequency
Three out of four Americans have either personally experienced chronic pain or have a close family member or friend who has.4
Alternative Treatments
Nearly all people with chronic pain seek alternative treatments; regardless of the prescription or over-the-counter drugs they are taking, or the nature of their pain.
Worldwide
1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from chronic pain.5
Impact on Day-to-Day Life
The effects of chronic pain are not limited to the pain itself, which can have a detrimental impact on day-to-day life.
Health Care Costs
Chronic Pain is cited as the most common reason Americans access the health care system and it is a major contributor to health care costs.6

IMPACT OF CHRONIC PAIN ON THE AMERICAN ECONOMY

Chronic pain costs society at least $560-$635 billion annually, or the equivalent to $2,000 for everyone living in the US7

36 million Americans missed work due to pain in a single year8

American workers lost an average of 4.6 hours of productive time a week due to pain conditions9

Lost productivity due to pain costs the United States $299-$325 billion, based on factors including days of work missed, hours of work lost and lower wages10

The economic costs of chronic pain on the economy are similar amongst all age groups, meaning people in their 20s and 30s cost the same as the elderly11

MYTHS ABOUT AMERICANS LIVING WITH PAIN

MYTH: EXPOSURE TO LEGAL OPIOIDS INEVITABLY LEADS TO ADDICTION

REALITY: The majority of patients who take prescription pain medications as directed do not become addicted. Patients are encouraged to follow dosing guidelines and are discouraged from ever using someone else’s prescription medication.12

MYTH: Chronic Pain Patients on Opioids are addicts who are HIGH ALL THE TIME

REALITY: Pain patients who use opioids use them to manage their pain, not to get high. Most side effects of opioids, such as constipation, drowsiness and dry mouth, are usually mild, tolerable, treatable, occur at the beginning of therapy, and fade with time. Opioid use can induce a sense of euphoria, a sensation that is amplified when the medication is delivered by routes other than what has been recommended.

MYTH: If someone looks fine, they AREN’T IN PAIN

REALITY: Many people with chronic pain go about their business and do as much as they can, in spite of their pain. Unlike acute pain, there may not be any outward signs of chronic pain. Just because people look comfortable does not mean they are. This misunderstanding creates measurable emotional distress for people living with chronic pain.

MYTH: CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS ARE JUST BEING LAZY

REALITY: Many chronic pain patients are active, fruitful members of society who live full lives thanks to their access to proper pain treatments.

MYTH: Chronic Pain is a SIGN OF WEAKNESS

REALITY: The estimated 100 million Americans living with chronic pain endure varying levels of discomfort on a daily basis and often struggle through everyday tasks despite constant pain, signaling strength instead of weakness.

3National Academy of Sciences (2011) Relieving PAIN in America
9Gaskin, G. J. and Richard, P. (2012) The Economic Costs of Pain in the United States.

10American Academy of Pain Medicine (2017) AAPM Facts and Figures on Pain.
11Morgan Griffin, R. (2007) The Price Tag of Chronic Pain.

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