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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 13 July, 2020

Chronic pain is having a significant impact on the work, social and family lives of Irish people

A survey found that 75% of people say it affects their daily life.

Chronic back pain is a common condition in Ireland.
Chronic back pain is a common condition in Ireland.
Image: Shutterstock/TB studio

CHRONIC PAIN IS taking a significant toll on the lives of those who suffer with the condition in Ireland, according to a new survey.

The survey carried out by the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists asked 1,000 people in Ireland to rate the impact of chronic pain on the various aspects of their lives. 

This coming Sunday marks world physiotherapy day with this year’s theme being chronic pain, to highlight the impact it has on an individual’s life. 

The survey found that three-quarters of those surveyed said it affected their daily life, 73% said it affected their sport and social life, and 71% said it affected their ability to participate in activities with their children, friends or partners. 

Chronic pain is thought to affect 1.65 million people in Ireland, with chronic back pain one of the more common diagnoses. 

It is categorised as a pain that has lasted longer than three to six months, which is the normal tissue-healing time frame, and for which there is no apparent biological value. 

Some 30% of people surveyed said chronic pain has a huge impact on their sleep, with a further 45% of people saying it has some impact. 

A quarter of those people surveyed said it has a huge impact on their ability to work, while 41% said it has some impact on their ability to work. 

Meanwhile, 17% of those surveyed said it hugely impacted their sex life/relationship, while a further 35% said it had some impact on this. 

Brona Fullen, associate professor in the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science said: “It has been estimated that between 50% and 80% of people with persistent pain have problems sleeping (insomnia).

“These two conditions are often bidirectional; pain can interfere with sleep and sleep disturbance can exacerbate pain.

“Pain can erode sleep quality and alter the sleep restorative process and can lead to next day sleepiness, fatigue affecting cognitive function.”

She added: “With persistent pain, daily functional life can be disrupted and therefore one’s ability to work, socialise, sleep, participate and contribute to life events can be significantly impacted.”

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