Chronic pain figures


As patients, there is no doubt that pain is one of the experiences that can terrify us most.  This is even truer when talking about a problem that is not temporary but is here to stay.  In other words, the type of pain that comes into our lives and becomes chronic, occasionally affecting our daily lives irreversibly and traumatically. 

The facts hurt too

If we consider for a moment the figures relating to pain across the whole world, we will see that it is a reality that has an enormous impact on our society.  Worldwide, it may come as no surprise that there could be more than 1.2 billion adults affected by some kind of chronic pain  (approximately 20 per cent of the total world population).  In Europe, the figure is 80 million patients (approximately 9 per cent of the adult European population).

The figures increase every year

We must learn how to fight against pain, but also how to live with it. Unfortunately, the number of people who have to share their lives with pain increases annually, with almost 60 million new cases diagnosed every year.  

If we look at large countries such as the United States, we will see that the statistics are far from negligible.  One hundred million US citizens are affected by chronic pain as follows: 

–        26 million adults between the ages of 20 and 64 regularly suffer from back pain

–        25.8 million patients have chronic pain associated with diabetes

–        Around 23 million patients have chronic pain associated with coronary disease

–        11.9 million patients have chronic pain as a result of some type of cancer

Pain and low temperature

We must remember that, for several conditions, low temperature is linked to pain so we must stay on the alert for pain appearing, especially during the colder months. 

Many patients with arthritis suffer more pain when the weather is cold.  Stiffness in the joints or greater intensity or frequency of pain are linked to changes in the weather, although there is no evidence to date that there is a direct link between these changes and damage to the joints. 

One theory that has been put forward to explain this phenomenon is the frame of mind of patients.  During the autumn and winter months, some people go through stages of depression which could make them feel more affected by pain or to feel it more intensely.  If this is the case, exercise is recommended to overcome this type of problem, with the aim of improving the patient’s physical health and state of mind. 

Best Doctors is aware of the importance of fighting against pain as a substantial element of some diseases and we support all medical and scientific initiatives to alleviate the effects of pain.  

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