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Economic Pain Contributing to Acute Physical Pain for Many Americans, New Survey Says
Date:9/21/2009

BALTIMORE, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey from the American Pain Foundation says economic pain from the recession is contributing to acute, or short-term, physical pain for Americans. According to the survey, released today during National Pain Awareness Month, 68 percent of people who experienced acute back pain or other minor muscle strains and sprains in the past year said that the recession caused, increased or affected their pain, often because of greater stress and working harder at home and on the job.

For many of those surveyed, the economy's effect was pronounced, with 37 percent of people who experienced acute back pain or other minor muscle strains and sprains reporting that some aspect of the recession had a big impact on their pain. Specifically:

  • More than a quarter (27 percent) said greater stress, pressure, anxiety or worry related to the recession had a big effect on their pain.
  • Close to one in three (29 percent) said working harder, either at home (17 percent) or on the job (17 percent), had a big effect on their pain.
  • More than one-fifth of respondents (21 percent) said health problems related to the recession -- like sleeplessness, eating habits or cutting back on healthcare -- had a big effect on their pain.

"These findings demonstrate the unexpected impact that mental and physical stress can have on our bodies. In addition to stress and other health effects of the recession, this survey indicates there is an actual physical effect that translates into pain and injuries for Americans working harder to keep up with the tasks of daily life," said Will Rowe, chief executive officer of the American Pain Foundation. "As many of us take on more at work and at home to cope with economic uncertainty, it is important not to do it at the expense of our health."

In the past year, half (48 percent) of Americans reported having suffered from minor muscle strains or sprains on body parts other than their back, while 34 percent said they had suffered from acute back pain -- defined as pain which comes on suddenly and typically lasts less than a few weeks.

In response to the survey findings, the American Pain Foundation is providing Americans with online materials offering seasonal tips for preventing and treating acute pain injuries. These new tools, as well as existing materials related to the prevention, management and treatment of pain, are available at www.conqueringpaintogether.org or www.painfoundation.org.

Parents Hit Especially Hard

The recession's impact on Americans' acute pain in the past year has been significant, and it has been even more so for those with children under 18 in their household. In fact, 69 percent of parents reported suffering from either acute back pain or pain from other minor muscle strains or sprains, compared to 56 percent of non-parents.

Among parents who reported they suffered from acute back pain or other types of minor muscle strains or sprains, half (50 percent) reported that their pain impacted the quality of their personal life, including the ability to spend time with friends and family. Close to half (48 percent) reported that their pain impacted their home lives, making it more difficult to manage childcare and other everyday chores.

Significant Quality of Life Impact, but Professional Treatment Seen as Last Resort

Four out of five (78 percent) sufferers of acute back pain or other minor muscle strains or sprains reported that their pain had an effect on their quality of life, impacting everything from their work life to their ability to take care of other health issues to their sexual desire. Six in 10 (60 percent) sufferers reported that their pain impacted more than one aspect of their quality of life.

Despite this, many sufferers of acute back pain or other minor muscle strains or sprains said they took treatment matters into their own hands: only four in ten (43 percent) reported seeing a healthcare professional for their pain. Among those, 90 percent tried some type of remedy before consulting a healthcare professional. The most common reason for not seeking medical attention was sufferers' belief that they could "tough it out," cited by 57 percent of respondents.

"It is clear from this survey that even the short-term pain caused by common strains and sprains can have a significant impact on quality of life," said Rowe. "Proper treatment is important to prevent chronic pain or other conditions from developing. When in doubt, people should seek out a healthcare professional for treatment."

The survey was conducted online between July 27 and 30, 2009, by Greenfield Online for the American Pain Foundation and was made possible by support from King Pharmaceuticals((R)), Inc. The margin of error for the total sample of 2,192 online Americans is +/-2%.

About the American Pain Foundation

Founded in 1997, the American Pain Foundation is an independent nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization serving people with pain through information, advocacy, and support. APF's mission is to improve the quality of life of people with pain by raising public awareness, providing practical information, promoting research, and advocating to remove barriers and increase access to effective pain management. To learn more about APF, visit www.painfoundation.org. To access APF's A Reporter's Guide: Covering Pain and Its Management, visit www.painfoundation.org/learn/publications/files/reporters-guide.pdf


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SOURCE American Pain Foundation
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