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Pain Management in the U.S.: Consumer Strategies

Pain Management in the U.S.: Consumer Strategies focuses on how adults approach and treat their physical pain, emphasizing consumer survey analysis, including trends over time. The report studies two distinct groups: pain sufferers and adults who have selected illnesses/conditions strongly associated with physical pain and pain management. Demographic analysis of these groups is woven into report analysis. Content is further segmented by the nature of consumers’ physical pain and chosen pain treatment methods and outcomes.


  • Executive Summary
    • Pain ailments and sufferers
      • Living with pain
      • Responding to pain and sickness: a nuanced approach
      • Gathering health information: boon and bane?
      • Pain-centric ailments
      • Demographic focus
      • Pain sufferers
    • Pain treatment management, methods and outcomes
      • Managing pain
      • The role of the healthcare practitioner
      • Patient attitudes
      • Treatment methods and outcomes
      • Alternative, homeopathic and functional solutions
    • Pain medication
      • Attitudes toward prescription and non-prescription medicine
      • Attitudes toward drug packaging and pharmaceutical company information
      • Use of medications to treat pain-causing illness
      • Prescription drugs used for pain
      • Non-prescription drugs used for pain
      • Vitamins and supplements
      • Menstrual pain
  • Introduction and Overview
    • What Is Pain?
      • Inherent subjectivity
      • Self-reporting is key
      • Disease or symptom?
      • Classifying pain
      • Acute pain vs. chronic pain vs. cancer pain
    • Living with pain
      • Quality of life: the average adult's quest; the pain sufferer's Holy Grail?
      • Medication: important to enhancing quality of life
        • Table Qualify of Life Attitudes: Adults Reporting Moderate-to-Severe Suffering, by Illness/Condition, 2016
      • Health and diet play a role
        • Table Diet and Nutrition Attitudes: Adults Reporting Moderate-to-Severe Suffering, by Illness/Condition, 2016
      • Exercise and weight management
        • Table Exercise and Weight Management Attitudes: Adults Reporting Moderate-to-Severe Suffering, by Illness/Condition, 2016
    • High demand for pain relief remedies
    • Growth in alternative therapies
  • Pain Ailments and Sufferers
    • Responding to pain and sickness: a nuanced approach
      • Table How Consumers Respond to Pain and Sickness: Adults Reporting Moderate-to-Severe Suffering, by Illness/Condition, 2016
    • Gathering health information: boon and bane?
      • Table Health Information Sources and Uses: Adults Reporting Moderate-to-Severe Suffering, by Illness/Condition, 2016
    • Pain-centric ailments
      • Table Ailments/Conditions Had in Last 12 months, by Type, 2007-2016
      • Demographic focus: Chronic joint pain and arthritis sufferers
        • Table Patterns for Chronic Joint Pain Symptom and Arthritis, by Demographic, 2014
      • Demographic focus: Heart disease, cancer and kidney sufferers
        • Table Patterns for Heart Disease, Cancer and Kidney Disease Sufferers, by Demographic, 2014
      • Demographic focus: Migraine, lower back pain, neck pain and face/jaw pain sufferers
        • Table Percent of Adults with Migraine, Lower Back Pain, Neck Pain and Face/Jaw Pain, by Demographic, 2014
    • Pain sufferers
      • More than 100 million strong
        • Table Adults Who Have Suffered Physical Pain Limiting Everyday Function in Last 12 Months, 2016
        • Table Physical Pain Suffered in Past 12 Months: Type of Pain and Type of Pain Suffered from Most, 2016
      • Acute pain versus chronic pain
        • Table Physical Pain Suffered from Most in Past 12 Months: Acute vs. Chronic Pain, 2016
      • Acute pain versus chronic pain, by type of pain
        • Table Types of Physical Pain Suffered from Most in Past 12 Months: Acute vs. Chronic Pain, 2016
      • Intensity of pain
        • Table Physical Pain Suffered from Most in Past 12 Months: Ranked Intensity of Pain, 2016
      • Intensity of pain: acute pain versus chronic pain
        • Table Physical Pain Limiting Functioning Most: Acute vs. Chronic, by Intensity of Pain, 2016
      • Intensity of pain, by type of pain
        • Table Physical Pain Limiting Functioning Most: Type and Intensity of Pain, 2016
  • Pain Treatment Management, Methods and Outcomes
    • Managing pain
      • Approaches to treating minor, everyday pain vs. the worst imaginable pain
        • Table Preferred Approach to Managing Pain: Minor Everyday Pain vs. Worst Pain Imaginable, 2016
      • Approaches influenced by whether pain is acute or chronic
        • Table Preferred Approach to Managing Minor Everyday Pain: Acute vs. Chronic Pain Sufferers, 2016
        • Table Preferred Approach to Managing Worst Pain Imaginable: Acute vs. Chronic Pain Sufferers, 2016
    • The role of healthcare practitioners
      • Types of professionals visited
        • Table Health Professionals Visited in Last 12 months, by Type of Professional, 2007-2016
      • Traditional vs. alternative healthcare practitioners
        • Table Who Pain Sufferers Visit to Treat Pain: Traditional Healthcare Practitioner, Alternative Healthcare Practitioner, and Counseling/Therapy Practitioner, 2016
        • Table Healthcare Practitioners Consumers Visit to Treat Pain: Traditional, Alternative, and Counseling/Therapy, by OTC, Prescription and Opioid Prescription Pain Medication Usage, 2016
        • Table Who Consumers Visit to Treat Pain: Got Relief vs. No Relief, by Type of Professional, 2016
      • Patient attitudes toward their doctor
        • Table Attitudes Toward Their Doctor: Adults Reporting Moderate-to-Severe Suffering, by Illness/Condition, 2016
      • Patient attitudes toward doctor recommendations for medication
        • Table Doctor Medication Recommendations: Adults Reporting Moderate-to-Severe Suffering, by Illness/Condition, 2016
      • Patient attitudes toward doctors as guide and information source
        • Table Doctor as Guide and Information Source: Adults Reporting Moderate-to-Severe Suffering, by Illness/Condition, 2016
    • Treatment methods and outcomes
      • OTC remedies: widely used, offering reliable expectation of relief
        • Table Over-the-Counter Medication: Used to Treat Pain and Relief from Pain, 2016
      • More than 9 in 10 pain sufferers who use prescription medication obtain pain relief
        • Table Prescription Medication: Used to Treat Pain and Relief from Pain, 2016
      • The role of professional office treatments
        • Table Professional Treatments Used to Treat Pain: Got Relief vs. No Relief, by Treatment, 2016
      • The role of food, vitamin and home treatments
        • Table Food, Vitamin and Home Treatments Used to Treat Pain: Got Relief vs. No Relief, by Treatment, 2016
        • Table Food, Vitamin and Home Treatments Used to Treat Pain: Usage Indexes by Treatment Type, Alternative vs. Traditional Medicine Product Purchasers, 2016
    • Alternative, homeopathic and functional solutions
      • Table Consumer Degree of Preference of Alternative Medicine to Standard Medical Practices and Trust in Homeopathic Medicine, 2004-2016
      • Attitudes toward alternative and homeopathic medicine impede mainstream acceptance
        • Table Consumer Preference of Alternative Medicine to Standard Medical Practices and Trust In Homeopathic Medicine: Adults Reporting Moderate-to-Severe Suffering, by Illness/Condition, 2016
        • Table Who Pain Sufferers Visit to Treat Pain: Traditional Healthcare Practitioner, Alternative Healthcare Practitioner, and Counseling/Therapy Practitioner, 2016
      • Pain sufferers exhibit interest in homeopathic and functional pain medication
        • Table Interest in Retail Products to Treat Physical Pain, by Product Attribute, 2016
  • Pain Medication
    • Taking the consumers' pulse on drug efficacy, branding, packaging and information
      • Attitudes toward prescription and non-prescription medicine
        • Table Attitudes Toward Prescription and Non-Prescription Medicine: Adults Reporting Moderate-to-Severe Suffering, by Illness/Condition, 2016
      • Attitudes toward drug packaging and pharmaceutical company information
        • Table Attitudes Toward Drug Packaging and Pharmaceutical Company Information: Adults Reporting Moderate-to-Severe Suffering, by Illness/Condition, 2016
    • Use of medications to treat pain-causing illness
      • Table OTC vs. Prescription Drug Use for Illness: Backache, Migraine, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Chronic Pain, 2007-2016
      • Table OTC vs. Prescription Drug Use for Menstrual Pain, 2007-2016
    • Prescription drugs used for pain
      • Prescription drug use: trends over time
        • Table Percent of U.S. Population That Has Used At Least One Prescription Drug in the Past 30 Days, 1988-2012
        • Table Percent of U.S. Population That Has Used At Least Three Prescription Drugs in the Past 30 Days, 1988-2012
      • Prescription medications used to treat pain
        • Table Prescription Medication Used to Treat Pain, by Medication Type, 2016
      • High degree of reported efficacy
        • Table Prescription Medication: Used to Treat Pain and Relief from Pain, 2016
      • Opioid prescription analgesic usage
        • Table Prescribed Outpatient Opioid Use and Expense Trends: 2002-2012
        • Table Prescription Opioid Analgesic Use in Past 30 Days, by Selected Demographic, 2011-2012
    • Non-prescription drugs used for pain
      • Table Over-The-Counter Medication: Used to Treat Pain and Relief from Pain, 2016
      • Table Over-The-Counter Medication Used to Treat Pain, By Medication Type, 2016
      • Non-prescription headache and pain relievers
        • Table Non-Prescription Headache/Pain Reliever Usage, 2004-2016
        • Table Non-Prescription Headache/Pain Reliever Usage Purposes, 2016
        • Table Non-Prescription Headache/Pain Reliever Usage Purposes, 2004-2016
        • Table Non-Prescription Headache/Pain Reliever Use and Usage Frequency, by Selected Illness/Condition, 2016
        • Table Non-Prescription Headache/Pain Relievers: Consumer Usage Rates for Top Ten Brands, 2006, 2011, and 2016
        • Table Non-Prescription Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Consumer Usage Rates for Top Ten Brands, 2006, 2011, and 2016
        • Table Non-Prescription Pain Relievers Used Most, by Purpose of Pain Reliever Use, 2016
      • Pain relieving rubs/liquids/wraps
        • Table Usage Rates for Non-Prescription Pain-Relieving Rubs/Liquids/Wraps, 2004-2016
        • Table Non-Prescription Pain Relieving Rubs/Liquids/Wrap Use and Usage Purpose, by Selected Illness/Condition, 2016
    • Vitamins and supplements
      • Table Attitudes Toward Vitamins: Adults Reporting Moderate-to-Severe Suffering, by Illness/Condition, 2016
      • Table Vitamin/Mineral/Supplement Use and Usage Frequency: Adults Reporting Moderate-to-Severe Suffering, by Illness/Condition, 2016
      • Table Vitamin/Mineral/Supplement Use and Types Used: Adults Reporting Moderate-to-Severe Suffering, by Illness/Condition, 2016
    • Menstrual pain
      • Table Menstrual Pain Sufferers: Indexes for Pain Relieving Rubs/Liquids/Wraps and Headache/Pain Reliever Use and Usage Purpose, 2016
  • Appendix
    • Consumer survey methodology
      • Terms and definitions

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