We are a society gripped by constant pain of one sort or another – and life appears to be getting more painful by the year. In the UK alone, according to the UK government, at least a third of all households – representing some eight million of us – have one or more members suffering from moderate-to-severe persistent pain of some variety. This is two to three times more than the number of sufferers in the 1970s.
Matters are even worse in the US. According to the American Pain Foundation, more than 26 million Americans aged 20-64 experience frequent back pain alone. Almost a third of all adults aged 65 or over report some variety of knee pain, and more than one-sixth report having hip pain or stiffness. Staggeringly, some 25 million cases of pain have to do with migraine, or jaw or lower facial pain such as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).