Pain in urban India vs. rural
In a recent study that surveyed 7500 doctors in India, 20% of the general complaints were pain-related. This was second only to fever. 13% of urban India suffers from chronic pain. Chennai has the most sufferers at 22% and Ahmedabad at 6% has the least. Studies in the rural areas of Kerala, Maharashtra and West Bengal seem to suggest that 25% of the rural dwellers have pain, and is a much bigger problem compared with urban India
Pain in Professionals vs. Blue-collar workers
Pain affects upto 50% of blue-collar workers such as miners, goldsmiths, rice farmers, and oil drill workers in India. Pain is also a significant problem among the IT professionals, nurses and dentists; and in a study conducted in Maharashtra 90% of nurses had back, neck or joint pain. Among the Indian pain sufferers, 30% were unemployed and 40% were unhappy with their jobs.
Pain in women- India
Women suffer more than men in India, but the difference isn’t very significant. Women, in addition, tend to experience constant pain compared with men, for whom the pain was more intermittent in nature. And, unsurprisingly, increasing age was associated with more pain.
Common pain complaints
A third of people with chronic pain in India had suffered for more than 3 years, among which two-thirds experienced intermittent pain, while for the rest it was a constant companion.
Knee pains and other joint pains account for the majority (80%) of pain complaints. Low backache is another major cause for pain and disability, where more men than women seem to suffer. Headaches and migraine are another important cause of pain in India.
Persistent pain affects the quality of life. People have difficulties in performing their routine activities, are less able to or no longer able to walk, exercise, do their household chores, and attend social activities and work. Sleep and sexual health are also affected in a majority of patients.
Up to a third of chronic pain sufferers in India lost significant amount of work hours attributable to pain. Women with chronic pain could be more reluctant to talk about the difficulties faced at work than men.
Pain treatments in India
A dismal 30% of chronic pain sufferers did not receive any treatment at all, and men were less interested in seeking a consultation than women. Although 68% patients receive some form of treatment, almost half of such patients took non-prescription, over the counter, drugs that resulted in long-term health problems. Almost a third of the patients revealed that their current medications were not useful in relieving their pain.
Herbal supplements, massages, exercises and proprietary ointments were the preferred alternative methods in India to relieve pain.
More than 90% of chronic pain sufferers have not thought of visiting a pain management specialist, either due to lack of awareness or lack of access.
Our friends, partners and supporters who make our work possible