Chronic Pain Statistics

21 Distressing Chronic Pain Statistics

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Chronic pain, defined as a condition that persists or recurs for longer than three months, is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.

The global chronic pain statistics indicate that approximately 30% of the world’s population suffers from different kinds of pain.

Some of these people endure high-impact chronic pain, which leaves them unable to function and perform daily activities.

This impacts productivity negatively and leads to high costs in pain management and treatment.

Apart from all these, people suffering from chronic pain are also at greater risk of developing depression, leading to suicidal ideation.

Despite all the problems chronic pain causes globally, researchers still have a long way to go trying to understand the condition.

Even the World Health Organization has few chronic pain statistics and studies that might lead to groundbreaking solutions and prevention of the condition.

This article highlights some of the latest data and what researchers know about chronic pain and how the world is currently addressing it.

Top Facts About Chronic Pain

  • Approximately 60% of people with chronic pain also have depression.
  • One in five adults in the US suffers from chronic pain.
  • Chronic pain costs the US about $300 billion in lost productivity per annum.
  • People with lower socioeconomic standing have a greater risk of developing chronic pain.
  • Adults with back problems believe stress is the most common culprit for the condition.
  • Women are more susceptible to chronic pain than men.
  • Researchers in the US believe that chronic pain is a risk factor for suicide.

Chronic Pain Facts

1. Approximately 60% of people with chronic pain also have depression.


It’s common for people who have chronic pain to suffer also from depression or other mental health issues. This isn’t surprising since the two conditions are often bidirectional.

Depression can exacerbate chronic pain, and chronic pain can worsen a person’s mental health condition.

This is why it’s not surprising that chronic pain and depression statistics report that 60% of people struggling with chronic pain are also presenting signs of depression.

2. Some cases of chronic back pain might be related to genetics.


Most people aren’t acquainted with different chronic pain myths and facts. For instance, many believe that the majority of the cases of back pain result from traumatic injuries.

However, while there are cases of back pain caused by injuries, most are aftereffects of degenerative diseases and osteoarthritis.

Unfortunately, records suggest that 80% of patients with these conditions inherited them from parents and ancestors.

3. The percentage of people suffering from chronic pain in the US seems to increase with age.


The latest available records suggest that the percentage of individuals experiencing chronic pain is proportional to age. 

According to the latest chronic pain sufferers statistics, only 8.5% of the 18 to 29 age group suffers from chronic pain. While 30.8% of older adults aged 65 and above battle with the condition.

4. People with lower socioeconomic standing have a greater risk of developing chronic pain.

(Medical News Today)

Despite the rising occurrence of chronic pain for all demographics, researchers still found varying statistics for chronic pain prevalence among groups with different socioeconomic levels.

For example, data suggest that people with household income four times the poverty level only had a 14% increased risk for chronic pain.

In contrast, people who earned only twice the poverty level have a 42% increased risk of developing the condition.

Chronic Pain Statistics

Chronic Pain Statistics in the US

5. One in five adults in the US suffers from chronic pain.

(Science Daily)

Chronic pain is one of the most common health conditions in the US. It’s so common that chronic pain stats show that 50.2 million Americans suffer from this condition.

That’s 20.5% of the total American population or one in every five adults in the US.

6. Chronic pain costs the US about $300 billion in lost productivity per annum.

(Science Daily)

Chronic pain is a severe condition that affects the lives of millions of Americans. It interferes with the daily living and work-life of people who suffer from it.

In fact, according to statistics on chronic pain, employees who suffer from chronic pain miss a significant amount of workdays.

On average, people with chronic pain miss 10.3 workdays, whereas those who live without it miss only 2.8 workdays. This leads to $79.9 billion in lost wages and approximately $300 billion in lost productivity.

7. Adults with back problems believe stress is the most common culprit for the condition.


Back pain is a common type of chronic pain in the US caused by several factors, including strained muscles, poor posture, and excess weight.

But, according to chronic back pain statistics, 29% of sufferers say their condition is most probably caused by too much stress.

8. Women are more susceptible to chronic pain than men.


A significant percentage of the US population suffers from chronic pain, and according to the latest CDC chronic pain statistics, the prevalence varies by gender.

For example, records show that 21.7% of women suffer from chronic pain, while the prevalence of chronic pain among men is two percentage points lower.

The trend for high-impact chronic pain, the kind of chronic pain that leaves its sufferers debilitated, is the same.

About 8.5% of women have the kind of chronic pain that often restricts their day-to-day living. The same condition is prevalent for 6.3% of the men.

9. Researchers in the US believe that chronic pain is a risk factor for suicide.


According to chronic pain and suicide statistics, researchers derived from several years of data collection, about 9% of people who committed suicide had suffered from chronic pain.

Furthermore, records cited cancer pain, arthritis, and back pain as the most common types of chronic pain these suicide decedents suffered from.

The general assumption is that the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, coupled with the desire to escape the pain, pushed these people to commit suicide.

10. The current work-from-home setup and trend seem to increase chronic pain cases in the US.


Initially, the majority of the working force embraced the setup that allowed them to work remotely.

However, because most of the workstations of employees working remotely aren’t ergonomic, a significant number are now suffering from chronic pain.

Chronic pain and work at home stats show that 41% of US adults reported new or intensified back, shoulder, and neck problems ever since they started working remotely.

11. The prevalence of chronic pain in the US varies by race.


The latest chronic pain statistics in the US show varying prevalence levels of chronic pain among different races.

Records suggest that non-Hispanic Whites had the highest percentage of chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain instances at 23.6% and 8.4%, respectively.

Meanwhile, non-Hispanic Asians had the lowest prevalence of chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain at 6.8% and 2.2%, respectively.

Chronic Pain Statistics

Chronic Pain Statistics Worldwide

12. Approximately 30% of the world’s population suffers from chronic pain.

(The Lancet)

Chronic pain is the leading cause of global impairment.

It’s also one of the most common reasons why people seek out medical treatment. It’s so widespread that the worldwide chronic pain prevalence data shows that about 30% of the global population suffers from it.

This is alarming considering that the condition produces immense personal and economic burdens on those forced to live with and endure it.

13. Global treatment for chronic pain is expected to reach $151.7 billion by 2030.


Chronic pain is a crippling health condition that affects people on a global scale. Because it involves a significant percentage of the population, several governments are implementing policies that support chronic pain treatment.

Based on current treatment and chronic pain statistics worldwide, 2020 to 2030 will witness significant growth in the treatment industry.

Analysts expect the compounding annual growth rate to be at 6.5% for this period, with total revenue at $151.7 billion by 2030.

14. There was a pronounced increase in high-impact chronic pain prevalence among individuals aged 16 to 34 in the UK.

(The Guardian)

While the number of people experiencing chronic pain in the UK chiefly stayed the same, researchers are concerned about the growing number of high-impact chronic pain cases among younger adults.

According to the UK’s acute pain statistics, there was an increase in the prevalence of debilitating chronic pain among young adults from 21% to 34%.

Researchers believe this drastic increase resulted from the generation’s predisposition to a sedentary lifestyle.

Apart from this, researchers also point to obesity and stressful environments as contributing factors to debilitating chronic pain.

15. About one in four Canadians at the age of 15 and older suffers from chronic pain.

(Government of Canada)

According to the chronic pain statistics for Canada published in 2020 by the government, approximately 7.63 million Canadians are currently enduring chronic pain.

This means that about one in four adults in Canada aged 15 and above lives with the condition.

The Canadian government believes this figure impacts the country’s economy significantly since direct and indirect costs reach between $38.3 and $40.4 billion.

16. The US’s chronic pain patients experienced several struggles and roadblocks to pain care amid the coronavirus pandemic.

(Practical Pain Management)

The chronic pain statistics in the United States in 2020 paint a disturbing picture of the struggles of chronic pain patients.

Approximately 77.4% of surveyed Americans with chronic pain believe there were specific barriers to treatment in 2020 because of the pandemic.

About 36% of them reported that their pain care clinics remained open and would sometimes ask them to visit personally.

This causes concern since a significant percentage of people with chronic pain have comorbidities that make them more vulnerable to the virus.

17. Self-diagnosis of chronic pain appears to be commonplace across all age groups in the UK.


A significant percentage of people who reported experiencing pain in the UK are self-diagnosed.

In fact, according to chronic pain statistics in the UK released in 2020, about 49% of the population who live in pain are self-diagnosed.

And only 22% of the UK’s population is diagnosed with a specific pain condition.

Statistics for Chronic Pain Treatment

18. Acupuncture is a promising chronic pain management tool for cancer survivors.

(Evidence Based Acupuncture)

Researchers still have a long way to go in understanding the cause and development of chronic pain. Yet, it’s a global concern that debilitates millions of people worldwide.

A significant percentage of chronic pain sufferers turn to prescription opioids in dealing with and managing their condition.

While they’re effective for some, their use is not without risks and dangers. This is where acupuncture comes in as a promising and effective alternative pain management tool to prescription medicine.

And it appears that the stats about acupuncture and chronic pain can back up this claim. About 76% of patients who tried acupuncture for osteoarthritis, low back pain, and headache reported the method’s effectiveness.

Further, one retroactive study on patients with musculoskeletal pain shows that 93% attest that their therapy involving acupuncture was successful.

19. CDC urges prescribers of opioids for pain management to recommend other alternatives to chronic pain patients.

(Choose PT)

Opioids are the go-to treatment of most chronic pain patients. However, recent statistics and facts about opioids for chronic pain alarm the CDC, especially since opioid misuse and abuse cases prevail.

Studies on opioid overdose cases in the US show that about 60% of those who died from opioid overdose were patients suffering from chronic pain.

As a result, the CDC implores clinicians to provide safer alternatives to their chronic pain patients.

20. Chronic pain management among the elderly is more complicated than treating patients who belong to other age groups.

(Practical Pain Management)

Chronic pain is a severe health condition prevalent among individuals aged 65 and above. Statistics show that 53% of surveyed elderly reported feeling pain that limited their physical capacity.

Despite this staggering number, elderly chronic pain management statistics in nursing homes show that about 21% of chronic pain cases are untreated.

This is because treatment for elderly chronic pain is complicated. About 75% of those who suffer from chronic pain have other health conditions like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, or chronic lung disease.

21. Marijuana is a promising alternative to opioids for chronic pain management.

(US Pharmacist)

Several studies are now examining the efficacy of medical marijuana as a treatment for chronic pain management.

Researchers see the potential in the substance since chronic pain stats report that 80% of individuals who used marijuana for chronic pain found the substance extremely helpful.

So it’s not surprising that the majority or 65% of patients who use medical marijuana use it to ease their chronic pain.


Because chronic pain impacts the lives of so many people, it’s only sensible to research and study how best to battle and prevent this condition.

Unfortunately, while many clinicians endorse opioids, these might not be the best treatment for many patients because of the high rates of overdose cases.

Based on the rising trends in chronic pain management, safer alternatives to opioids like medical marijuana and acupuncture are now gaining traction.

Further research and studies on these alternative treatments might be vital in developing promising treatment programs.


Although some chronic pain cases are disabling and hinder sufferers from performing daily tasks, it’s not listed as an impairment in the Social Security Administration.

For clinicians to classify a particular case of chronic pain as a disability, there must be an underlying and verifiable medical condition that causes the chronic pain.

In most cases, medical practitioners are hasty in downplaying and dismissing the condition as exaggeration or psychological.

People from different demographics suffer from chronic pain. However, prevalence is higher for some groups.

Statistics show a greater prevalence of the condition for non-Hispanic whites, women, and older adults, with the elderly having the highest percentage of all groups.

This is not surprising since the elderly also have the highest number of comorbidities like diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. All of which increase the risk of developing chronic pain.

The most common type of chronic pain is back pain. It’s the most prevailing reason for visits to primary care physicians, accounting for approximately 25% of the total visits.

It’s also the most common chronic pain reported by employees confined to their office desks. And about 80% of adults experience this type of pain at least once in their lifetime.

Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that affects a significant percentage of the global population. Researchers estimate that approximately 30% of the world’s population is suffering from this condition.

Some of these sufferers live with the high-impact type of chronic pain, hindering them from performing daily activities.

In the US, approximately 50 million or 20% of the country’s population have this condition.

The two types of chronic pain are neuropathic pain and nociceptive pain.

Neuropathic pain happens when the nerves responsible for sending information to the brain from the muscle and skin are damaged.

Nociceptive pain happens when the nociceptors are activated because of physical injuries.

On some occasions, the nociceptors remain active and send pain messages to the brain long after the injury has healed. This is why some people who suffered injuries still feel chronic pain after their recovery.

Chronic pain is a common condition that happens to a significant percentage of the US population. It affects people from across age groups, races, and social standing.

According to the most recent chronic pain statistics, approximately 50 million Americans, or 20% of the country’s population, live with chronic pain.

And about 20 million are burdened with high-impact chronic pain, the type of pain that leaves them unable to perform daily activities.