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Chronic Pain Management post-COVID

This fall, we conducted an online survey with the Harris Poll to examine chronic pain management techniques and preferences, as well as to gain insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted pain and pain management. 

What we found might surprise you. 

Chronic pain affects more than half of Americans (56%). In fact, about 3 in 4 Americans experiencing chronic pain (73%) say they are in pain every day, and many are using pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments to manage it. 

COVID-19 changed the way many people manage their chronic pain.

Over-the-counter pain relievers (53%) and exercise (43%) topped the list of solutions for chronic pain management in those with chronic pain. Some stated they’ve tried something new to manage their pain (20%) or are speaking to their doctor more often since the start of the pandemic (21%).

A majority of participants with chronic pain (65%) reported using non-pharmacological treatments more often to manage pain since the pandemic began. 

For better or worse

The survey found that stress and anxiety (26%) and lack of sleep (25%) made chronic pain worse, while exercise (26%), eating healthier foods (23%), and pain relievers (22%) improved it during the pandemic.

A majority (83%) of those experiencing chronic pain stated their quality of life would greatly improve if they were better able to manage it. Many also noted the stress one undergoes while living with chronic pain, and a majority (79%) wish it was taken more seriously by health-care providers.

More resources are needed

More than half of those experiencing chronic pain (62%) don’t really know what type of health-care provider could best help them. About 68% wished they had more information, and an incredible 80% have had to find ways to manage pain on their own.

This signals a huge area of health care that requires closer examination and attention. 

With an increased interest in non-pharmacological treatments like healthy eating, exercise, massage, and physical therapy, health-care providers have a great opportunity to expand their own approaches to chronic pain management and begin integrating holistic solutions into their treatment plans.

This study was a great indicator of how ready people are to receive more help and new ideas to improve and manage their chronic pain.

See full survey results here.


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