Though it is not always discussed as frequently in the United States, chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer put together. Chronic pain (and back pain in particular) afflicts millions of Americans, who, in turn, spend $86 billion every year to treat it. For example, 20% of American adults claim that physical discomfort causes them sleeping problems two to three nights a week, if not more. In fact, back pain is so pervasive it is the second most common reason Americans go to the doctor’s office. Ailments such as chronic neck pain, phantom limb pain, post-surgical pain, and sciatica can make ordinary, day-to-day activities such as driving a car or sitting down on a chair difficult or even unbearable.
Neck pain, phantom limb syndrome, and sciatica are all dangerous; however, back pain is the most common chronic pain condition in the U.S. today. More than 26 million adults in the U.S. between the ages of 20 and 64 — an astounding 8% of the total population — experience back pain. The average worker loses about five hours a week due to chronic pain and American businesses lose more than $60 billion a year due to hindered productivity. Nearly $45 billion of that sum is the result of low productivity rather than absenteeism.
However, there is hope for those who suffer from chronic pain conditions. There are a number of treatments and therapies available, including epidural steroid injections, spinal cord stimulation, nerve blocks, and piriformis muscle injections. There are even therapeutic/alternative medical options such as acupuncture and massages. Chiropractic medicine has also been proven to be very effective with back, neck, and spinal pain.
Though chronic pain may not receive the attention it deserves, it is still a serious problem in the U.S. Anyone who notices chronic pain in their back, necks, legs, or torso should go to a medical professional and have it examined immediately. Life should be as pain-free as possible, and medical professionals are here to help.