THE ENORMITY OF THE PROBLEM
o my lef shoulder, as i acid were dripping righ ono he nerve, and severe muscle spasms. Afer eigh monhs o no progressdespie emporarily giving up work, swimming, he radio show, and singingI nally began o ge beter when I saw a eam o docors a he New England Bapis Hospial in Boson. Tey
me. Tey gave me ime, corisone shos, and very rigorous physical herapy called “boo camp.” I was graeul, o course, bu sobered. Despie my amiliariy wih he medical sysem, i ook eigh docors, muliple physical herapiss, an acupuncuris, several massage herapiss, an ergonomic consulan (who go me o buy all new oﬃ ce urniure), and more drugs, including opioids, han I had ever imagined I’d need beore I began o ge beter. I’s wonderul ha I nally go he help I needed. Some people never do. Tis shouldn’ happen in a counry as medically sophisicaed as ours. And ye i does. * * *One hundred million American aduls live in chronic pain, according o a 2011 repor rom he presigious Insiue o Medicine, an arm o he Naional Academy o Sciences.
In 2010, ha was more han 40 percen o he US adul populaion, 235 million.
Ta is a saggering gure, o be sure, and i’s based on one massive sudy.
Bu i s wih oher esimaes. A 2012 Gallup elephone survey o more han 353,000 American aduls ound ha 47 percen were suﬀering rom some ype o chronic pain, a gure ha ranslaes o 111 million people.
Oher esimaes pu he prevalence a abou one-hird o aduls.
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A 2008 elephone survey o nearly 4,000 randomly seleced Americans ound ha on any given day, 27 o 29 percen said hey had been in pain during hree randomly seleced 15-minue periods ha day.
A 2006 elephone survey o 46,394 Europeans in 15 counries showed ha 19 percen had suﬀered pain or six monhs or longer, wih pain in he moderae o severe range.
o be sure, no everyone suﬀers chronic pain as badly as I did. Bu many have i much longer, and much worse. In ac, some people in chronic paina enh o a hird, depending on he esimaehur so badly hey can’ uncion.
Usually dened as pain lasing hree o six monhs or more, chronic pain is vasly diﬀeren rom shor-erm, acue pain. I can ransorm lie.