Pain: A Common Complaint
By Ellen Kuwana
Neuroscience for Kids Staff Writer
April 14, 2000
The words to the song:

"Rain, rain, go away / Come again another day"

could be changed and used for another common complaint:

"Pain, pain, go away"
According to a Gallup poll sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation and released on April 6, 2000, 42% of adults in the US experience pain daily and 89% experience pain at least once a month. Of those in pain, only half visited a doctor in the previous three years to seek help for their pain. More women than men reported having pain: 46% of women compared to 37% of men said they had pain daily.

Ouch, My Aching...

What kind of pain did these people experience? Of the approximately 2,000 people who responded to the telephone survey, the most common complaints, in order, were:

  1. Joint Pain (such as knee pain)
  2. Backaches
  3. Sore Feet
  4. Muscle Pain
  5. Arthritis (inflammation of the joints)
Pain affects people of all ages, but older people often have pain more frequently, or for longer time periods. Many survey respondents felt that there was nothing to be done about their pain. In fact, 88% of the people polled believe that such discomfort is just a part of growing older. The Arthritis Foundation, along with several other organizations, is trying to combat the belief that pain is a fact of life by launching a campaign called "Speaking of Pain." There are many ways to control pain. Treatments range from aspirin and other over-the-counter painkillers to prescription medications, physical therapy, hypnosis, acupuncture, and relaxation techniques.

Pain can become so overwhelming that everyday activities are affected: 43% of those surveyed reported that they could not wait in a line for a long period of time and 27% said that they had missed work sometime in the past year because of pain.

Pain Free Is The Way To Be

This survey suggests that a large number of people experience pain on a daily basis. Arthritis alone affects more than 43 million Americans. By educating ourselves about pain, researching the causes of pain, by seeking medical care when necessary, and by tackling the problem instead of simply enduring the pain, we can end needless suffering and increase the quality of life for all.

References and further information about the pain and the pain survey:

  1. Pain from Neuroscience for Kids
  2. Most Americans Put Up With Pain, Survey Indicates, Seattle Times, April 6, 2000.
  3. The Arthritis Foundation

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