September is National Pain Awareness Month, and the team at Clearway Pain Solutions wants to help relieve your pain, restore function and renew your life. This month, we’ll be sharing a wealth of information about pain awareness and treatment.
Does pain get in the way of your ability to work, engage in social activities and do the things you enjoy? If so, you’re not alone. A recent NPR-IBM Watson Health poll surveyed 3,004 Americans regarding their experiences with pain and found that:
- Nearly one in five reported that pain interferes with activities in their daily lives
- 18% of Americans say pain is often a problem and 24% say it’s sometimes a problem
- Pain becomes a bigger problem with age. The poll reports that 22% of people 65 and older say pain often interferes with their daily lives compared with only 9% of people 35 and younger.
What Others Are Doing About Pain
Exercising for Pain Relief
Almost two-thirds of those struggling with pain sought help while a little more than one-third of those polled did not seek care. Of those with pain, 60% rely on over-the-counter pain relievers. Younger people under the age of 35 report they try exercise such as yoga and other stretching activities to relieve the pain while only 11% of those 65 and older exercise to help with pain. Overall, 26% of people feel that exercise helps them manage their pain.
Brett Snodgrass, Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Coordinator of Palliative Medicine at Baptist Health Systems in Memphis, Tennessee, noted that it is exciting to see people utilizing exercise for pain relief and that the numbers have increased over the last few years. She goes on to point out that a decline in opioid prescribing might be part of the reason for the change. “Often prescribers were settling for prescriptions,” she says. “Now that there’s less prescribing, patients are having to take more responsibility” for managing their pain.
Those with higher incomes typically have better access to exercise and physical therapy than those with lower incomes. Snodgrass points to the poll’s finding that only 15% of people with incomes less than $25,000 a year say they exercise to reduce pain. In contrast, nearly one-third of those with incomes of $50,000 or more exercise to help with pain.
Fewer Relying on Prescription Pain Drugs
Approximately 15% of Americans rely on prescription pain relievers with those under 35 least likely to use a prescription medication. Of the 65 and older population, 23% used prescription drugs to treat pain.
Dr. Anil Jain, Vice President and Chief Health Information Officer at IBM Watson Health stated that pain needs to be viewed holistically and as a public health issue. “If we don’t pay attention to pain as a public health issue, I think we’re going to be addressing half of the problem and causing another problem.”
Clearway Pain Solutions Can Help
The Clearway Pain Solutions team brings a patient-centered approach to treating acute and chronic pain. Your pain physician will provide you with a complete evaluation and then develop an effective treatment plan designed to relieve pain and restore function so you can renew your health and enjoy your daily activities again.