Americans Suffering from Severe or Chronic Pain

BackPain.jpgIn The News

According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there are nearly 50 million Americans who suffer from severe or chronic pain. The study was designed to identify the prevalence of severe or chronic pain in America.

The findings of the study did show that half of those people with the most severe pain still rated their overall health as good or better. There were also associations between the severity of pain and race, ethnicity, gender and age. For instance, women, older people and non-Hispanic people were more likely to report that they had pain and Asians were less likely. 

The report also is calling for better national data to study the issue.  A better understanding of the perception of pain and the varied responses can help to improve pain treatment options and hopefully lessen the prescription drug addiction problem that currently plagues Americans. As of 2009 The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that two million Americans were addicted to opioid painkillers, which is twice the number addicted to cocaine!



Daily Health Tip

Pain is a real problem that varies with the individual’s neurological perception. While the best means of reducing or eliminating pain is to eliminate the source, there are times when this is not possible or physicians are unable to pinpoint the exact source.  However, there are lifestyle choices you can make that will help your body to both heal and reduce your perception of pain.

1. Identify the factors in your life that increase your chronic pain. These factors will include:

a. Smoking and tobacco products increase pain perception.

b. Stress increases pain perception.

c. Alcohol has a negative impact on sleep which increases the stress response in your body.

2. Use stress reducing techniques to lower your cortisol levels (a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands when you are under stress) which increases your perception of pain.

a. Deep breathing and meditation techniques.

b. Exercise reducing stress and increases the release of a natural painkilling hormone in your body, endorphins.

c. Sleep for at least 8 hours each day which reduces your cortisol level and perception of pain.

3. Integrate coping mechanisms daily to help reduce your perception of pain. You may not be able to get rid of the pain but you can use techniques to distract yourself and improve your quality of life.

a. Join a support group to meet others living with chronic pain conditions.

b. Consider a massage to help reduce the perception of pain.

c. Eat a diet rich in vitamins and minerals and take a vitamin supplement.

d. Practice yoga to improve your flexibility and reduce the potential for injuries

e. Use visualization techniques to distract your mind.


Making Changes

Making these changes in your life can be challenging. Even if you don’t suffer from chronic pain these strategies will help you to overcome other mental and emotional challenges.

Choose one strategy and integrate into your daily practice. Using one at a time it won’t be long before you’ll gradually experience a decrease in the pain you perceive and an improvement in your overall daily live.


Have a wonderful day!

Your Healthy Life America Team

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