Back, lower limb, and upper limb pain among U.S. adults, 2019
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Back, lower limb, and upper limb pain among U.S. adults, 2019

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      Data from the National Health Interview Survey • In 2019, 39.0% of adults had back pain, 36.5% had lower limb pain, and 30.7% had upper limb pain in the past 3 months. • Adults aged 65 and over, women, non-Hispanic white adults, and those with income below 100% of the federal poverty level (FPL) were most likely to experience back pain. • Adults aged 18–29 (21.0%), men (33.5%), non-Hispanic Asian adults (20.6%), and those with income 200% of FPL or above (35.2%) were least likely to experience lower limb pain. • Adults aged 65 and over, women, non-Hispanic white adults, and those with income below 100% of FPL were most likely to experience upper limb pain. Location-specific pain, such as back, neck, arm, and hip pain is associated with short- and long-term health effects, ranging from minor discomfort to musculoskeletal impairment (1), diminished quality of life (2), and escalating health care costs (3). Existing studies of location-specific pain are mostly limited to small or special populations with limited generalizability (4–6). This report provides national estimates of any pain regardless of body region as well as estimates of back, lower limb (hips, knees, or feet), and upper limb (hands, arms, or shoulders) pain in the past 3 months among U.S. adults aged 18 and over by selected sociodemographic characteristics. Overall, nearly three in five adults (58.9%) experienced pain of any kind in the past 3 months in 2019. Among adults, 39.0% experienced back pain, 36.5% experienced lower limb pain, and 30.7% experienced upper limb pain. The prevalence of pain experienced at each of these locations increased with age and was highest among adults aged 65 and over. The prevalence of pain at each of these locations was lowest among men and non-Hispanic Asian adults. Finally, the percentage of adults who experienced back, lower limb, and upper limb pain decreased with increasing family income as a percentage of FPL. Suggested citation: Lucas JW, Connor EM, Bose J. Back, lower limb, and upper limb pain among U.S. adults, 2019. NCHS Data Brief, no 415. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2021. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.15620/cdc:107894. CS325371 db415-H.pdf
    • Content Notes:
      Key findings -- The percentage of adults aged 18 and over experiencing pain in the past 3 months varied by body region. -- The percentage of adults aged 18 and over with back pain differed by demographic characteristics. -- The percentage of adults aged 18 and over with lower limb pain was highest among adults aged 65 and over. -- The percentage of adults aged 18 and over with upper limb pain decreased as family income as a percentage of FPL increased. -- Summary -- Definitions -- Data source and methods -- About the authors -- References -- Suggested citation.
    • Source:
      NCHS Data Briefs
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