Seventy-two percent of people with chronic pain have lived with it for more than three years, including a third (34 percent) who have lived with pain for more than a decade, according to results from the Americans Living with Pain Survey (ALPS), designed to uncover insights regarding attitudes and perceptions about chronic pain. Yet nearly half (44 percent) of people with pain who have talked to their doctor about it delay doing so, often for several months or longer, despite the impact it has on their lives. A little more than half (53 percent) of those who do eventually visit their doctor do so because their pain is becoming increasingly severe.
"This survey demonstrates that chronic pain is a problem that has reached near epidemic proportions," said Edward Covington, M.D., Director of the Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program at the Cleveland Clinic. "The 'can do, can cope' spirit of Americans can lead to untreated chronic pain, which has a severe impact on people's work, personal relationships, hobbies, and even sex, and can greatly diminish their quality of life. In addition to physical disability, it may also lead to irritability, anxiety, or depression."