The greatest evil is physical pain - Saint Augustine.
Pain is everywhere. According to a 2008 international survey looking at more than 40,000 respondents in 18 countries, the prevalence of chronic pain was about 37.3 percent in developed countries and 41.1 in developing nations. Back pain and headaches were more common in developing countries and chronic pain problems were more often found in females and older adults. In the United States alone, 116 million adults experience some form of chronic pain according to a 2011 survey by the Institute of Medicine.
More common than cancer, heart disease, and diabetes combined, chronic pain represents a major drain on life quality, mental health, and work productivity. The financial costs associated with chronic pain, whether in terms of direct health care expenses and time lost from work are astronomical. The 2011 Institute of Medicine report estimated health care costs between $560 to $630 billion dollars annually. This figure excludes costs for people in the military, prisons, psychiatric facilities, and Veterans Administration hospitals.
To read more, check out my new Psychology Today post.