What is Chronic Pain?

While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury and the need to take care of yourself, chronic pain is different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years. There may have been an initial mishap — sprained back, serious infection, or there may be an ongoing cause of pain — arthritis, cancer, ear infection, but some people suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage. Many chronic pain conditions affect older adults. Common chronic pain complaints include headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system itself).

A recent market research report indicates that more than 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from chronic pain and that approximately 3- 4.5% of the global population suffers from neuropathic pain, with incidence rate increasing in complementary to age. (1)

Key Findings from the 2006 Voices of Chronic Pain Survey (9)

A 2006 survey conducted for the American Pain Foundation and sponsored by Endo Pharmaceuticals evaluated the impact that chronic pain had on 303 chronic pain sufferers who sought care from their physician and were currently using an opioid to treat their pain.

Control Over Chronic Pain

More than half of respondents (51%) felt they had little or no control over their pain.
Six out of ten patients (60%) said they experience breakthrough pain one or more times daily, severely impacting their quality of life and overall well-being.

Impact on Quality of Life

Almost two-thirds (59%) reported an impact on their overall enjoyment of life.
More than three quarters of patients (77%) reported feeling depressed.
70% said they have trouble concentrating.
74% said their energy level is impacted by their pain.
86% reported an inability to sleep well.

Source:
http://www.painmed.org/patientcenter/facts_on_pain.aspx#chronic

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