30 Jarring Chronic Pain Statistics You Should Know

Chronic Pain Statistics

A literal pain in the neck – chronic pain. Don’t these two words make you frown just a little bit, reminding you of that annoying, dull ache? Our chronic pain statistics will help you understand the condition better, as well as provide some proven aids.

In some cases, pain is our friend. It is the basic indicator that something is wrong and we should stay away from certain situations or objects. Usually, pain is taken for granted, though we really need it. For example, we learn not to touch hot objects because pain receptors send urgent signals to our brain, thus saving us from damaging our body.

These and similar situations are extremely challenging for people who are normally omitted from pain statistics because they have that rare condition of not feeling any physical pain at all. On the other hand, we don’t like having a constant reminder that something is wrong with us.

Top 10 Chronic Pain Stats and Facts

  • 1.5 billion people are suffering from chronic pain.
  • A person suffering from pain symptoms has 3 to 5 times higher chances of becoming depressed.
  • Chronic pain is now officially recognized as a disease.
  • Neck pain is experienced by 10% of the world population.
  • Chronic pain is the No 1. reason why Americans apply for medical marijuana.
  • $50 billion are spent on treating back pain every year.
  • The more educated you are, the less pain you will feel.
  • Doctors study less about pain than veterinarians.
  • The mutation of SCN9A is responsible for the fact why some people can’t feel any pain.
  • 1 in 10 suicide deaths are connected with chronic pain.

Let’s get to know this type of pain a bit better and read about some prospective pain solving suggestions as well.

Chronic Pain Statistics Worldwide

1. Chronic pain is now officially recognized as a disease.


The latest studies by the WHO have explained the difference between chronic primary and chronic secondary pain. The first one is defined as a disease of its own, while the latter refers to the pain caused by a particular illness or condition. What is the most common type of chronic pain? The majority suffers from low back pain, neck pain, and headache/migraine.

2. Chronic (secondary) pain has six subtypes.


They are chronic cancer-related pain, chronic postsurgical or post-traumatic pain, chronic neuropathic pain, chronic secondary headache or orofacial pain, chronic secondary visceral pain, and chronic secondary musculoskeletal pain.

3. 1.5 billion people are suffering from chronic pain. 

(NIH) (TheGoodBody)

NIH chronic pain statistics say a lot. Between 20% and 30% of the world is estimated to be struggling with pain which lasts over 12 weeks—the minimum amount of time needed for it to last to be categorized as chronic. In some countries, the figures are even higher.

4. The mutation of SCN9A is responsible for the fact why some people can’t feel any pain.

(Independent) (Health24)

Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy (HSAN) type IV, or the lack of pain and temperature sensation, creates a lot of complications. For example, such babies often hurt themselves by chewing on their hands, tongue, or cheeks.

5. China has the highest number of people suffering from chronic pain—501 million.


That roughly makes for about 40% of the population. India is in second place with 174 million. The list of top ten countries includes the USA, Brazil, Mexico, the UK, South Africa, Colombia, France, and Germany.

6. Horrible chronic pain statistics from 2018 suggest that about 80% of the world does not have proper access to pain medications.

(Science Direct)

Generally, the world’s population is becoming older and the need for chronic pain relievers is going to increase. In the meantime, the bottom 50% of the population has access to less than 1% of the worldwide morphine supply. Certain areas are particularly deprived: Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Africa, and Asia.

7. 28% of preventable diseases in LMICs are related to chronic pain.

(Science Direct)

Pain statistics deduce some diseases could be resolved by timely surgery if only the chronic pain accompanying them was taken more seriously in lower-to-middle income countries. This is especially true for cancer, as the patients usually report to the doctor only when the cancer pain becomes extreme.

8. Doctors study less about pain than veterinarians.

(Science Direct)

In short, healthcare professionals are undereducated when it comes to chronic pain. For instance, only 13 hours of the medical program are designated to pain education in the UK, as opposed to 27.4 hours in vet sciences. In Canada, only one-third of health science programs had pain as an obligatory part.

Statistics of Chronic Pain in America

9. 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain.


How many Americans are affected by chronic pain? According to the most recent data, i.e., the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 20.4% of the population dealt with chronic pain in 2016. Also, six million (8%) of US adults were suffering from extreme chronic pain.

10. Chronic pain is the main culprit for a myriad of debilitating conditions.


How common is chronic pain in the US? Extremely. It is reported to be connected with anxiety and depression, poor health and quality of life, opioid addiction, and general mobility and daily activity restrictions.

11. The US loses about $560 billion per year due to chronic pain costs.


The amount cited in CDC chronic pain statistics refers to all the lost productivity, direct medical costs, and disability programs.

12. The more educated you are, the less pain you will feel.


At least that is what the latest survey shows. People with a bachelor’s degree or higher are less likely to feel chronic pain. Chronic pain and poverty are related. Economic state is a determining factor since poorer people tend to suffer more, based on surveys and stats.

13. 1 in 10 suicide deaths is connected with chronic pain.

(Reuters) (OATexts)

Chronic pain and suicide statistics show 1 in 10 people who committed suicide had been suffering from chronic pain. That does not necessarily imply pain is to blame, but it does play a big role.

For example, 16.2% of the suicides were opioid overdoses. So, chronic pain sufferers had three times bigger chances of being positive for opioids. Migraine sufferers were especially suspicious.

14. On average, the rate of chronic pain among patients with depression is 65%.


Chronic pain and depression statistics report depression can cause pain and vice versa. The pain symptoms in depression patients vary from 15% to 100%.

15. A person suffering from pain symptoms has 3 to 5 times higher chances of becoming depressed.


The stronger the pain, the higher the possibility of becoming depressed, and vice versa. As depression is oftentimes challenging to determine (the estimation success rates are rather disappointing according to depression statistics), pain should be taken as a serious indicator.

Specific Chronic Pain Statistics

16. 11 million adult Americans suffer from high impact chronic pain.


This chronic pain type is defined as pain which lasts at least three months and imposes major restrictions to one’s life. For example, people suffering from this type of chronic pain are sometimes unable to leave home or do household chores. Generally, they deal with stronger pain and more metal and cognitive issues

17. Knee pain statistics reveal that about 19% of US residents are suffering.


Knee pain usually occurs as a result of a hip or knee injury (among other conditions and diseases) and it gets only worse with age. Who suffers from chronic pain of this type the most? It is most common in women who are 85 to 90 years old (30%).

18. Knee pain ranks second among the most common causes of chronic pain.

(Classic Rehabilitation)

At some point in their lives, one-third of the population experiences knee pain in some form. Women take the lead with the overall prevalence of 20%, while for men, the percentage is only a tad lower—18%.

19. Lower back pain statistics tell us that it is experienced by 80% of adults in their lifetime.


There are no gender differences here, as both sexes suffer the same. Chronic back pain usually develops from acute low back pain after one year of ache. Most types of back pain are caused by some kind of a physical obstacle, for example, a herniated disc.

20. 54% of Americans complaining about back pain do sedentary jobs.


What’s more, 7% of all reported cases of back pain turn into chronic low back pain. A third of women complain about the pain, as opposed to one-quarter of men. Overall, low back pain statistics indicate the number of cases is on the rise.

21. Women are more likely to endure chronic pain than men.

(Journal of Pain)

Females have higher chances of experiencing almost all types of chronic pain. Generally, the likelihood of feeling high impact chronic pain increases if one is over 45 years old and has been divorced/separated or widowed.

22. 40% of shoulder pain cases evolve into chronic pain as reported by shoulder pain statistics.


About half of new shoulder pain cases are resolved before 12 weeks have passed, but 40% last longer than a year and have high possibilities of recurring (40% to 50% complain about the pain up to five years later). The pain intensity is also troublesome, ranging from moderate to high.

23. Neck pain is experienced by 10% of the world population.


According to one study, tobacco smokers are more likely to take part in neck pain statistics, as well as certain professions. Office workers, carpenters, and machine operators are more prone because their jobs require repetitive use of the upper extremities.

Fighting Chronic Pain Statistics

24. Chronic pain is the No 1. reason why Americans apply for medical marijuana.


62.2% of the patients applying for medical marijuana cards ask for them due to chronic pain. The next in line are multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, posttraumatic stress disorder, and cancer. Cannabis is very much preferred to most meds because CBD oil-infused products release the substance gradually over time, providing pain relief which lasts for hours.

25. The painkiller market in the US will have reached $5.9 billion by 2023.


The figure would be much larger if the market stats included homeopathic remedies, prescription medicine, and anesthetics. With the aging population contributing to chronic pain statistics and their recent inclination to use marijuana, maybe the figure will diminish.

26. Over 50% of those who use marijuana due to chronic pain drive while they are high.


Medical cannabis and CBD oil are legalized in a lot of states but not all people are using it responsibly. Marijuana can seriously impair driving abilities. Yet, most drivers have admitted to driving under the influence some two hours after consuming it. 21% of them said they were driving while feeling “very high.” As a matter of fact, marijuana is the second most common illegal substance that is detected in alcohol-related car crashes according to the alcohol statistics.

27. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and arthritis are the main reasons for purchasing painkillers.


Chronic pain statistics from 2019  are dominated by Paracetamol, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Voltaren, Thomapyrin, and Dolormin.

28. Opioid prescriptions for chronic pain increased by 300% within 15 years.


The most recent stats are for the period 1999-2015 and they spell danger. According to addictions statistics, opioid use coincided with a peak in drug overdose mortality rates. Opioids are addictive, so once people would lose their right to an opioid prescription, they would turn to more affordable drugs such as heroin.

29. $50 billion are spent on treating back pain every year.


And that is America only. Pain statistics say 10% of the world population is in (lower back) pain as well. 1 in 3 people complains about back pain during their daily activities. Around 80% of Americans are estimated to have problems with back pain at some point.

30. All National Football League Teams use the chiropractic services.


Each year, chiropractors treat over 27 million Americans for different ailments. Moreover, if each American visited a chiropractor prior to going to the doctor’s for neck or back pain, that would save Medicare $83.5 million.


How many people in the world have chronic pain? Obviously, too many.

Not only is chronic pain a nuisance, but it can be an indicator of a serious disease. Hopefully, the latest proclamation by the World Health Organization will inspire thoughtful action by the governments and healthcare institutions.

Chronic pain statistics show there is a lack of funds and resources both in the education and treatment sector, and classic opioids can be dangerous. For this reason, Americans are very much inclined to turn to alternative solutions, such as medical cannabis, to finally gain relief.

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