Categories: Health

Two-fifths of adults are in pain by their mid-40s

Revealed: Two-fifths of adults have pain by their mid-40s

  • Chronic pain lasts longer than 3 months despite medication or treatment
  • Such pain can affect all ages and all parts of the body, including the back
  • Study is based on more than 12,000 Britons followed for up to 62 years

More than two-fifths of people in Britain suffer from some form of chronic pain by their mid-40s, a study suggests.

Chronic or persistent pain is pain that lasts longer than three months despite medication or treatment.

It can affect all ages and all parts of the body, for example arthritis, back pain, headaches or general muscle pain.

Chronic or persistent pain is pain that lasts for more than three months despite medication or treatment

Now scientists have found that people who suffer from persistent pain in their 40s are more likely to be unhappy, develop depression and become unemployed as they get older.

Their findings also suggest that chronic pain at age 44 is linked to very severe pain at age 51, and that patients will be more vulnerable to viruses like Covid as they age.

The research, published in the journal Plos One, is based on more than 12,000 people born in the UK in one week in March 1958 and followed up to age 62.

Study co-author Professor Alex Bryson, of University College London’s Social Research Institute, said: ‘Chronic pain is a very serious problem that affects a large number of people.

“If we follow a birth cohort over their life course, we see that chronic pain is very persistent and is associated with poor mental health outcomes in later life, including depression, and also leads to poorer general health and unemployment.

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“We hope that our research sheds light on this issue and its broad impact, and that it is taken more seriously by policymakers.”

The study, funded by the Health Foundation, found that 41 percent of people reported having chronic pain by the time they were in their mid-40s.

The results also showed that those who suffered from chronic pain at age 44 were more likely to be unhappy at age 50 and depressed at age 55.

The study found that 20 years later, in 2021, chronic pain is associated with a greater chance of Covid-19 infection.


You should always rest a bad back: Moderate exercise is essential to build and maintain strength and flexibility in the spine, improve posture and protect you from further pain. While total rest may seem like a good way to recover, in the long run, continuing moderate physical activity will often help. Your local chiropractor can advise on what is right for you.

Back or neck pain is simply part of the aging process: While aging can have an impact on your back health, back or neck pain can occur at any age. Maintaining good health in later years and being aware of how to maintain one of our body’s most important assets, the back, is important in enabling us to maintain our activity level. The BMA has advice on how to protect your back at any age.

Back or neck pain is uncommon: Back and neck pain is very common and statistics have shown that 80 percent of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

The spine can be easily injured: The spine is actually one of the strongest parts of your body and is designed to be strong. However, just like any other part of your body, it is essential to take good care of it so that it can do its job effectively for as long as possible.

A hernia means a disc has slipped out of your spine: The discs are circular pads of connective tissue — cartilage — between each vertebra in your back. These discs have a gel-like interior and a sturdy outer casing. They help maintain your back’s flexibility and wide range of motion. A herniated disc means that one of the cartilage discs in the spine is damaged and may be extruding, irritating, or pressing on the nerves. It can also be known as a prolapsed or hernia.

Painkillers can cure back pain: Most back pain is ‘mechanical’ in nature, so while painkillers can be helpful, some sort of mechanical, hands-on treatment with movement/exercise is more likely to help manage the problem and reduce recurrence.


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