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Chronic Pain Costs US $635 Billion Each Year

Chronic pain is a common condition in the US and it costs the nation a whopping $635 billion annually to tackle this health problem. About 116 million American adults or 40% of the population are victims of chronic pain. This ailment causes lost productivity and wages, and extra sick leaves.

Chronic pain lasts for several months and it is a hard condition for doctors to detect and treat. Many patients opt for self-treatment. The economic costs of chronic pain are greater than those for diabetes, cancer and heart disease. The federal government’s Medicare program bears 25% of the annual costs.

Chronic pain occurs because of certain injuries, illnesses and medical treatment procedures. Lower back pain is the most common type of chronic pain followed by knee pain, migraines or severe headaches and neck pain.

To control chronic pain, many patients use painkillers and prescription opioids like oxycodone and morphine. But, opioid abuse is a major concern with greater than 33 million people abusing opioids in the year 2007, resulting in a high number of overdose deaths.

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