New survey results show that many people in England are mismanaging the way they treat their pain. With over one in four admitting they can be ‘confused’ about how to manage it and so may not treat it at all, which means that more than an estimated 12 million may be suffering unnecessarily.

It found that the average person in England experienced at least two headaches a week, lasting almost as long as half a working day each time (around three and a half hours). The impact can be considerable, with one in five saying headache causes them emotional distress or time off work, and a quarter of people having to cancel their social plans.

In addition, back pain is having a major impact of people's lives and wellbeing, causing emotional distress and leading to days off work for over an estimated 10 million (one in five people). Mismanagement of back pain is common with over a third of sufferers feeling insecure about how to manage it and despite experts’ recommendations to keep active to help manage lower back pain, four in 10 Brits still believe it’s best to rest.

Many people do not voice their pain for fear of annoying others

The survey of 2,000 adults, supported by pain experts Nurofen, explored the management of some of our most common pain occasions (headache, backpain, and fever in children).

It also found that more than a third of people in the UK do not voice their discomfort, due to either fear of annoying others and coming across as ‘moaning,’ and many saying they just don’t think other people will care. Despite feeling uncomfortable voicing their own pain, many find it frustrating that their loved ones keep their everyday pains to themselves, with one in five saying they wished they would open up more.

The survey was conducted as part of International Pain Awareness Month this month that helps to raise awareness of pain, its impact and the importance of effective management, to people around the world.