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Chronic pain up almost 40 percent among US workers in past decade

Persistent, chronic pain has risen dramatically among full-time U.S. workers in the past 10 years, but workers today opt to go to their jobs rather than call in sick, leading to a growing trend of presenteeism ?a negative impact on work despite being physically present at the job. These data, released today, are from a 2006 national survey conducted by Harris Interactive® on "Pain in the Workplace" (www.painandwork.com), sponsored by PriCaraÔ, Unit of Ortho-McNeil, Inc., and conducted in partnership with the National Pain Foundation (NPF). The survey was an update to the 1996 Louis Harris & Associates poll on the subject, sponsored by Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc.

"Chronic pain appears to be increasing in prevalence among U.S. workers as Americans age and lead more sedentary lifestyles," said Rollin Gallagher, M.D., M.P.H., editor-in-chief of the NPF Web site (www.NationalPainFoundation.org), a founding and current member of the Board of the NPF and clinical professor and director, Center for Pain Medicine, Research and Policy of the University of Pennsylvania. "This survey indicates that employees with chronic pain must become their own advocates, understand the impact of their chronic pain and work with their healthcare provider to identify appropriate treatment options."

Chronic pain, defined in the survey as pain that lasts for at least six months, was more common in the workplace in 2006 than it was in 1996 (26 percent vs. 19 percent).

Today, almost nine in 10 employees with chronic pain (89 percent) typically go to work rather than stay home when experiencing chronic pain, the survey found. The same percentage of employees (89 percent) reported experiencing chronic pain at work "often" or "sometimes." Ninety-five percent of employees with persistent, chronic pain reported that their pain must be moderately severe or very severe to c
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Source:Ruder Finn Public Relations


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