One in five adults in the U.S. are dealing with chronic pain and that number is going up each year.
Entire medical practices and therapies are devoted to addressing it.
As it’s become one of the most common health conditions.
The mother of a toddler, Dena Marie Blauvelt rarely puts her feet up.
But two weeks ago she underwent a total knee replacement.
“There were two days I couldn’t even move,” Blauvelt said.
She went under the knife after living with unimaginable pain for years.
“So I have psoriatic arthritis, which is a really painful form of arthritis where the psoriasis internalizes into the joint, it attacks the joints. So a combination of that, and a torn meniscus,” Blauvelt said.
Blauvelt knows about suffering. She is a licensed massage therapist on both sides of the pain continuum.
“I’ve seen a lot of people that are in pain, a lot of autoimmune disease, a lot of fibromyalgia, a lot of excessive swelling,” she said. “The treatment I specialize in is called lymphatic drainage. That’s my niche. And it seems like so many people have pain in their joints, and their stomach, their abdomen, their neck, people are just in a lot of pain right now.”
New cases of chronic pain are squeezing out some of this country’s most common medical conditions, including depression, diabetes and high blood pressure.
And there is no easy fix.
The National Institute of Health published findings this week that looks at the juggernaut of pain.
Out of 1,000 people, 52 will be diagnosed with chronic pain, compared to 16 for depression, seven for diabetes and 45 for high blood pressure.
What’s worse is pain sufferers tend to stay in pain for at least a year.
It’s a major health problem at the same time that we are dealing with an opioid crisis.
That leaves people reaching for over the counter meds, along with therapies and treatments.
Doctors say early intervention can make a big difference.
That’s something Blauvelt can relate to.
“Having a massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, anything you can do to make yourself feel better is going to help exponentially,” she said.