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Almost half of Latvian population suffers daily physical pain

According to the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) carried out by the Central Statistical Bureau in Latvia, 46.9 % of the Latvian population aged over 15 years experiences physical pain on a daily basis.

The figure is which is 2.6 percentage points higher than five years ago. Almost a third (32.3 %) of the population feel very mild or mild pain, but 14.6 % suffer moderate to very severe pain.

Even though pain and its intensity is a subjective assessment, it significantly differs between males and females. 52.3 % of females and 40.4 % males experience physical pain (49.3 % and 38.1 % – in 2014).

Mainly the population of Latvia experiences very mild or mild pain – it is indicated by almost every third male (30 %) and female (34.3 %). 11.3 % of females experience moderate pain, but 6.7 % suffer severe or very severe pain (males – 6.8 % and 3.6 %, respectively).

Unsurprisingly, as age increasing, the share of population indicating physical pain and growth of their intensity also rises.

(In chart above, blue represents male responses and gold represents female responses)

Physical pain is experienced by a quarter (25.8%) of young people aged 15 to 24 years, while the share among seniors (aged over 75 years) is 2.6 times larger – pain is experienced by 67.5 % of seniors. Assessment of physical pain increases most rapidly among he population in age groups 25–34 and 35–44 years. Among seniors there is a significant difference in breakdown by sex – physical pain is experienced by 71.7 % of females and 56.3 % of males. Moreover, each tenth (10.2 %) senior assesses the pain as severe or very severe.

Causes of pain

The existence of pain can be related to some certain disease or health problem. Among the population feeling physical pain the majority (93.1 %) indicate that they have some long-term illness or health problem (among youth 79.4 %, but among seniors – 98.5 %).

One of most widespread health problems is back pain or other chronic back problems. Of the population feeling physical pain, 60.3 % acknowledge that they have back problems. It is mainly indicated by age groups 45–54 and 55–64 years. But 37 % of the population face cervical pain, while joint inflammation and joint deformities account for 24.5 % and 20.3 %, respectively.

In 2019–2020 the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) covered 6,000 Latvian residents aged over 15 years whose answers were generalized to all residents of the respective age group.

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