Folks aren't just speaking metaphorically when they call the recession a painful experience. In polling for the American Pain Foundation, 68 percent of adults who've had acute back pain or "other minor muscle strains and pains" in the past year said the economy brought on the condition or made it worse. In many such cases, they attribute the pain to "greater stress and working harder at home and on the job."
These aches and pains afflict a large proportion of the adult population. Fielded in July by Greenfield Online, the poll found 34 percent of all respondents saying they've suffered from acute back pain in the past year (defined as "pain which comes on suddenly and typically lasts less than a few weeks"). Forty-eight percent report having suffered minor muscle strains or sprains in areas other than their backs during that period.
For better or worse, these sufferers are a stoic bunch, with fewer than half (43 percent) saying they resorted to seeing a health professional for help in treating the pain. A do-it-yourself approach is more common.
Sixty-seven percent of sufferers in the past year said they've used over-the-counter treatments. Among other remedies respondents have tried in the past year are exercise (51 percent), "lifestyle changes" (40 percent), prescription shots or pills (31 percent), physical or chiropractic therapy (19 percent) and topical prescription medication (12 percent).