A new data analysis based on the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) seeks to probe more deeply into early statistics that approximately 126 million American adults reported some type of pain in the 3 months prior to the survey. In this analysis, funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and published in Journal of Pain, the authors found that an estimated 25.3 million adults (11.2%) had pain every day for the preceding 3 months. Nearly 40 million adults (17.6%) experience severe levels of pain. Those with severe pain are also likely to have worse health status. The report also notes associations between pain severity and race, ethnicity, language preference, gender, and age. Women, older individuals, and non-Hispanics were more likely to report any pain, while Asians were less likely.
The mission of NCCIH is to engage rigorous scientific investigation to define the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative health approaches and their roles in improving health and health care. The report notes that pain is among the leading reasons that Americans look to complementary therapies, such as meditation, yoga, and massage, particularly where conventional, medication oriented approaches are proving ineffective. The authors express the hope that this analysis may add to the body of knowledge on chronic pain, and help to inform the National Pain Strategy in areas of population disparities.
A news release from the NIH on the analysis with link to further information on the report may be read here.