Over two fifths of people in Britain suffer from chronic pain by their mid-40s, study suggests | UK News


More than two-fifths of people in Britain experience some form of chronic pain by their mid-40s, according to a study.

Researchers found those with persistent bodily pain in this age range were more vulnerable to poor health outcomes later in life, such as COVID-19 and depression.

The findings suggest chronic pain at the age of 44 is linked to very severe pain at 51, along with joblessness in the future.

The study revealed 41% of people reported chronic pain – defined as lasting at least three months – by the time they reached their mid-40s.

People aged 44 who suffered from such pain were increasingly likely to being unhappy by the age of 50 and were likely to suffer depression at 55, the research showed.

There was also a correlation between chronic pain and the higher likelihood of being infected with COVID 20 years later, in 2021.

And there was a link between coronavirus infection and educational qualifications, as 50% of people without qualifications also reported experiencing chronic pain.

In comparison, 36% of degree holders and 27% with a higher degree had chronic pain.

‘Chronic pain is a very serious problem’

The co-author of the study, Professor Alex Bryson, of University College London’s Social Research Institute, said: “Chronic pain is a very serious problem affecting a large number of people.

“Tracking a birth cohort across their life course, we find chronic pain is highly persistent and is associated with poor mental health outcomes later in life including depression, as well as leading to poorer general health and joblessness.

“We hope that our research sheds light on this issue and its wide-ranging impacts, and that it is taken more seriously by policymakers.”

The team observed the health of over 12,000 people born in Britain in a single week in March 1958, until they reached the age of 62.

The study, funded by the Health Foundation, was published in the journal Plos One.


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