On a Scale of 1 to 10, #PainCounts

In 2001, the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) and other pain related organizations declared September National Pain Awareness Month. Pain is a part of life and something most people experience, and can range from mild, like a headache or overtaxed muscles, to acute, like a migraine or pain from a traumatic injury. It can last a few a few minutes or longer, or even persist through months-long recovery. However, some people may experience chronic pain, which is pain lasting for a prolonged period of time (6-months or greater) and may be intermittent or persistent, and while we may all experience pain, no two people’s experiences are the same.

Recent studies have shown chronic pain effects approximately 50.2 million Americans and for some individuals it may interfere in activities of daily living such as caring for oneself and one’s home, and other activities like working, remaining physically active, socializing, and maintaining their overall emotional well-being. Pain may be related to a chronic condition or long-lasting illness such as arthritis, migraines, cancer, Lyme disease, or fibromyalgia, or due to undiagnosed conditions. Coping with chronic pain may leave individuals feeling exhausted, physically and mentally stressed, frustrated, and isolated from others. Individuals who are experiencing pain lasting longer than 3- to 6-months are encouraged to seek medical care. They may work together with their care providers to create a treatment plan to manage chronic pain that may include stress reduction techniques, focus on diet, low impact exercise, complementary and alternative medicine such as acupuncture or massage, and work to establish better and more adequate sleep. They may work with their employer on reasonable accommodations, so they can work effectively while managing their chronic pain. They may also seek professional and peer support through national organizations, friends and family, as well as social media groups for emotional support.

The NARIC REHABDATA database has over 1,600 documents related to chronic pain and pain management of which 237 documents were the result of NIDILRR-funded research. NIDILRR has currently and previously funded approximately 29 projects related to chronic pain, including the Burn Injury, Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Model Systems.

Additional Information and Resources Related to Chronic Pain:


Bhattacharyya, N., Mullins, P., and Yong, R. (2022). Prevalence of chronic pain among adults in the United States. Pain, 163 (2), e328-e332. Retrieved September, 2022, https://journals.lww.com/pain/Citation/2022/02000/Prevalence_of_chronic_pain_among_adults_in_the.31.aspx.

Connor, E.M., Dahlhamer, J.M., Lucas, J.W., and Zelaya, C.E. (2020). Chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain among U.S. adults, 2019. NCHS Data Brief, no 390. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2020. Retrieved September, 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db390-H.pdf.

Searing, L. (2021, June 5). The big number: 50 Million people live with chronic pain in the U.S. The Washington Post. Retrieved September, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/the-big-number-502-million-people-live-with-chronic-pain-in-the-us/2021/06/03/94a9e94c-c493-11eb-8c18-fd53a628b992_story.html.

U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics (2019). National Health Interview Survey 2019. Retrieved September 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/2019nhis.htm.

About cgraves34

Media Specialist for the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC) funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) through Administration for Community Living (ACL) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
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