Pain prevalence among US adults increased 25% over the past 2 decades, with strong opioid use remaining high, a new study found. Researchers used data from the nationally representative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to determine 18-year trends in the overall rates of non-cancer pain prevalence and pain-related interference, as well as in healthcare use attributable directly to pain management. They found:
- Pain prevalence among US adults increased by 25% since 1997‒1998.
- ~68 million adults had pain that interfered with work by 2013‒2014.
- Use of strong, but not weak, opioids for pain management increased over time, especially in those with severe pain-related interference.
- Visits to healthcare providers for pain management decreased over time.
Nahin RL, Sayer B, Stussman BJ, Feinberg TM. 18-year trends in the prevalence of, and health care use for, non-cancer pain in the United States: Data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. [Published online ahead of print January 15, 2019]. J Pain. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2019.01.003.