Chronic pain is a public health crisis with far-reaching consequences for millions of individuals’ well-being, quality of life, productivity, health care costs, and more. Of the 50 million people who live with chronic pain, 20 million have high-impact pain, or pain that significantly interferes with activities of daily living.
Chronic pain is often defined as pain lasting longer than three to six months. It also can be defined as pain that lasts beyond how long it should normally take to heal. It is the opposite of acute pain, which is temporary, specific, and treatable.
Chronic pain can take many forms. For example, it can be mild or severe; intermittent or continuous; annoying or disabling; short-term or life-long. In addition, it can occur in nearly any part of the body and can cause a wide range of sensations. To learn more about a specific pain condition, visit www.learnaboutyourpain.com.
Understandably, chronic pain can affect quality of life and productivity. As a result, it may be accompanied by fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and other problems. In addition, the economic impact is staggering. In 2010 dollars, the cost of chronic pain—including the cost of treatment and lost productivity—was estimated at nearly $635 billion.
While it is unlikely that any one treatment will resolve chronic pain, a combination of therapies can enable you to live a normal, productive life. Furthermore, scientists are constantly making major advances that will lead to more effective treatments.