Pain is a feeling every human being has experienced, but few would voluntarily opt for this sensation. Pain is a sensation triggered by the central nervous system, a response to damaging stimuli. Pain can be sharp or dull, aching or throbbing, brief, intermittent, or ongoing and protracted. Pain has a high cost to our society – $560 to $635 billion annually. Health care costs account for approximately $300 billion of those costs, with lost productivity accounting for the rest. Nearly 100 million Americans report suffering from chronic pain. The most commonly reported types of pain are lower back pain and severe headaches or migraines.
Back pain, ranked as the most reported pain condition, is reported as the main concern of 27% of chronic pain sufferers. It is also the number one cause of disability for Americans under 45 years of age. Those who report chronic lower back pain were found to have overall worse physical and mental health than those who do not. Many sufferers of lower back pain report that the pain limits or interferes with their routine activities. Back pain results from injuries such as slip and fall, sports injuries, heavy lifting, too much sitting, poor posture. Common back conditions include sciatica (inflammation of the sciatic nerve), ruptured or bulging discs, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the space around the spinal cord), and spondylitis (stiffness due to severe inflammation of the spinal joints). Back pain is commonly treated with rest, application of heat/cold, massage, over the counter pain relievers, opioids, acupuncture, and chiropractic spinal manipulation. If your pain is caused by a sports related injury, seek a Southfield Michigan sports medicine doctor for physical therapy healing. Alternative therapies such as yoga, meditation, and herbal remedies have also beenreported to ease chronic pain.
45 million Americans report suffering from severe headaches and/or migraines. Common causes of severe headaches include sinus problems and tension headaches. Nearly 5% of the population reports suffering from chronic daily headaches. More than 37 million Americans, or 13% of the population, report suffering with migraine headaches. Migraines are found to be 3 times more common in women as compared to men and the average sufferer ranges between 35 and 55 years of age. 91% of migraine sufferers report their headaches interfere with work and routine activities. Characteristics of migraine headaches include a throbbing or pulsing pain, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and vision changes. While no definitive cause of migraines has been determined, theories include central nervous system disorder, vascular condition, or genetic links. While migraines cannot be cured, the pain can be managed through pain relieving and preventative medications.
Unfortunately, the costs of chronic pain cannot be summed up in dollars and cents. Aside from staggering health care costs and lost productivity. Many doctors are hesitant to prescribe potentially dangerous and addictive painkillers, leaving those in chronic pain suffering more than they otherwise might. Many chronic pain sufferers don’t seek medical attention, assuming their condition is just something they must live with. If you are suffering with chronic pain, speak with your doctor regarding alternative healing methods.