Millions of Americans Live With Pain

By Ryan Halvorson
Dec 10, 2015

Fitness professionals may want to expand their skill set, particularly by including mind-body techniques, in order to work with adults who are in pain.

Over 25 million American adults (11.2%) suffer from chronic daily pain, over 14 million adults (6.4%) experience severe pain, and more than 126 million adults (55.7%) have had some pain in the past 3 months, according to a report published in The Journal of Pain (2015; 16 [8], 769–80). Researchers from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the U.S. National Institutes of Health conducted an analysis to better understand the prevalence and severity of pain in the U.S. as part of an effort to transform pain care.

“The number of people who suffer from severe and lasting pain is striking,” said Josephine P. Briggs, MD, director of NCCIH in an NIH news release. “This analysis adds valuable new scope to our understanding of pain and could inform the National Pain Strategy in the areas of population research and disparities. It may help shape future research, development, and targeting of effective pain interventions, including complementary health approaches.”

What is interesting for fitness professionals is that study authors noted that pain is one of the leading reasons people turn to complementary approaches like yoga, meditation and/or massage. People are searching for methods to manage pain and other symptoms that prescription medications and conventional medical care do not consistently resolve.

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Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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