Pain is a component of many chronic conditions, and chronic pain is emerging as a health concern on its own, with negative consequences to individual persons, their families, and society as a whole
In Q4 2018 CDC released a new report estimating that 50 million Americans – just over 20 percent of the adult population – have chronic pain. About 20 million of them have “high-impact chronic pain” — pain severe enough that it frequently limits life or work activities. The estimates are based on the 2016 National Health Interview Survey of over 33,000 adults.
Estimates CDC Vs NIH
In the same timeline the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released its own research on high impact chronic pain (HICP), estimating that 11 million American adults have it – about half the CDC’s estimate.
Both the NIH and CDC are part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It was not immediately clear why the two estimates are so far apart – or why two government agencies in the same department were studying the same thing at the same time.
It’s certainly not the first-time researchers have disagreed on the number of people in pain.
“The multidimensional nature of chronic pain is not reflected in commonly used operational definitions… resulting in inordinately high prevalence estimates that limit our ability to effectively address chronic pain on a national level,” said Mark Pitcher, PhD, a visiting fellow at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).
Although the statistical data differs there are dashing similarities between CDC & NIH research outcomes few noteworthy are on the socioeconomic factors that play a significant role in high impact chronic pain. HICP sufferers not only have more severe pain, they are more likely to have mental and cognitive health issues, as well as substantially higher healthcare costs. About 83 percent of people with HICP are unable to work and one-third have difficulty with simple activities such as bathing and getting dressed.
“By differentiating those with HICP, a condition that is associated with higher levels of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and cognitive difficulty, we hope to improve clinical research and practice,” said co-author M. Catherine Bushnell, PhD, scientific director at NCCIH.
The concept of HICP was first proposed by the National Pain Strategy to better identify patients with pain severe enough to interfere with work and life activities. It also helps distinguish HICP from other types of chronic pain that are less impactful and more easily treated.
Take a quick glance at ALL Opry’s Opioid free pain management solutions
Have you Set Up Your OpryCare Yet?
If you enjoyed this post, help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!