Over 1 in 3 suffer from chronic pain

Chronic Pain

More than a third of people in Britain are living with chronic pain, a worrying new study suggests.

A report from Imperial College suggests as many as 28 million people in the UK could be tolerating some degree of constant discomfort.

Problems including lower back pain and osteoarthritis affect between 35% and 51% of British adults, according to the study published in the journal BMJ Open.

‘Silent epidemic’

Alan Fayaz, author of the study, describes the situation as a “silent epidemic”, adding that the subject is under-represented in terms of public awareness drives.

Imperial College researchers looked at data from 19 studies that covered almost 140,000 UK adults. They found that around 43% had some form of pain that has lasted for more than three months.

And the research team warns that the chronic pain issue is only going to get worse as the UK’s population ages.

The prevalence of chronic pain increases with age, with around one in seven adults under 25 reporting chronic pain compared to 62% of people over 75.

Around eight million people in the country suffer with moderate to severely-disabling chronic pain, the report found. Women are more likely to be affected by chronic pain than men.

‘Devastating’ impact on life

Olivia Belle, director of external affairs at Arthritis Research UK, says the study highlights the “devastating” impact chronic pain has.

Living in pain, day in and day out, can affect people’s independence, mobility and ability to stay in work, she adds. It is also linked to depression.

She is calling for better pain management and improved treatments to relieve pain.


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