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A public in pain

December 11, 2006|Rosie Mestel

We're a hurting nation, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Based on surveys and other data on thousands of Americans, the report (released last month) includes a plethora of U.S. health statistics, among them these findings on pain:

* One in 4 Americans said they experienced pain lasting a day within the previous month.

* One in 10 said they'd experienced pain lasting a year or more.

* More than one-fourth said they'd had low back pain within the previous three months.

* The most common pain complaints reported are lower back pain, migraine or severe headache and joint pain, aching or stiffness.

* Among joints in the body, the knee causes the most pain.

* More women than men complain of severe joint pain: 10% compared with 7%.

* Among adults ages 65 or older, knee replacement procedures rose almost 90% between the periods 1992-93 and 2003-04.

* Fifteen percent of adults have experienced a severe headache or migraine within the last three months.

* Rates of severe headaches and migraines were three times higher among adults ages 18 to 44 than those ages 65 or older.

* Use of narcotics to alleviate pain has increased slightly over the decades -- from 3.2% of adults in a 1988-94 survey to 4.2% in a 1999-2002 survey.

To read more about pain and other items in the report, titled "Health, United States, 2006," go to www.cdc.gov/nchs/hus.htm.

-- Rosie Mestel

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