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Severe joint pain in arthritis: Number affected still rising

The prevalence of severe joint pain among adults with diagnosed arthritis continues to increase, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In 2014, more than one-fourth of adults with arthritis had severe joint pain. That is about 14.6 million Americans with severe joint pain, a significant increase from 2002 when there were an estimated 10.5 million adults with severe joint pain, according to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

An analysis of data collected from the National Health Interview Survey revealed that severe joint pain disproportionately affects persons aged 45 -64 years. After researchers adjusted for age, they identified women, non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, those with a disability, those with less than a high school education, and those unable to work as the demographic groups with the highest prevalence of severe joint pain.

Severe joint pain was also more prevalent among patients with overall fair or poor health who were obese or had heart disease, diabetes, or serious psychological distress, the investigators reported.

The investigators defined people with arthritis as those who had “been told by a doctor or other health professional” that they have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia. Severe joint pain was defined as a response of seven or higher on scale of 0-10 for rating joint pain on average over the past 30 days.

Recently, the US Department of Health and Human Services released its National Pain Strategy, the nation’s first broad, federal effort aimed at developing strategies to reduce the burden of pain among Americans. The initiative’s major objectives are to take steps to reduce barriers to pain care, and to increase patient knowledge of treatment options and risks.

Opinion ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Health care providers and public health practitioners can begin to implement the recommendations (from the National Pain Strategy) by prioritizing self-management education and appropriate physical activity interventions as effective nonpharmacologic ways to reduce pain and improve health outcomes.

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