Pain in America: Highlights from a Gallup Survey
- Nine in 10 Americans aged 18 and older (89%) suffer from pain at least once a month.
- Forty-three percent of adults-a projected 83 million-report that pain frequently affects their participation in some activities.
- Fewer than half (43%) of respondents report they have a “great deal of control” over their pain.
- One in four Americans (23%) experience joint pain daily or every few days and 18% report suffering pain from arthritis, a disease that affects areas in or around the joints.
- More than 26 million Americans (15%) who suffer pain monthly have severe pain.
- More than half (55%) of Americans aged 65 and older have pain daily.
- Older Americans (age 65 and older) are most likely to cite getting older (88%) and arthritis (69%) as causes of their pain. Younger Americans (aged 18 to 34), on the other hand, are more likely to say tension or stress (73%), overwork or overexertion (64%) or their lifestyle (51%) cause their pain.
- Eighty percent of Americans believe their aches and pains are “just part of getting older” and 28 percent believe there is no solution to their pain.
Chronic pain is a term given to a variety of conditions that can cause frequent, continuous pain lasting several months or longer, including arthritis; chronic fatigue syndrome; fibromyalgia; headaches; back, neck and shoulder pain; and temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ). While most chronic pain sufferers have traditionally taken prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications to ease their suffering, studies show that increasing numbers of people have begun turning toward more natural, less invasive methods of pain relief.
For many people acupuncture is an effective means of relieving pain. This may be particularly true for back pain and headache pain. Other types of pain that may be helped by acupuncture include arthritis (both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis), musculoskeletal injuries (like to the neck, shoulder, knee, or elbow), fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, labor pain, and cancer-related pain. How acupuncture relieves pain is not entirely clear-cut, but there are many theories based on scientific principles.