Chronic pain is an increasing burden on public health, and chronic pain statistics have been reflecting this throughout the years. To assess the global effects of chronic pain conditions, the causes of these diseases need to be examined in-depth, both individually and at a population level.
It is impossible to answer all the questions related to chronic pain, given the epidemiology and the heterogeneity of the diseases associated with it, as well as the challenges in determining the cause and effect of risk factors and the occurrence of chronic pain.
Due to its severe duration, chronic pain causes a lot of trouble for the patients and reduces their quality of life, which leads to stress and even worse health. The facts we collect about chronic pain will help you better understand the importance of this condition and how to better cope with it.
The Top 10 Astonishing Chronic Pain Stats
- Around 1.5 billion people suffer from chronic pain globally.
- The prevalence of chronic pain is projected between 11–40% in the US.
- Low back and neck pain are the foremost causes of disability.
- 88% of patients with chronic pain suffer from an additional chronic condition.
- Almost 11 million Americans complain of HICP.
- More than 80% of patients with HICP are unable to work.
- Chronic pain and depression often go together.
- Adequate pain control may include the resolution of anxiety and depression.
- Chronic pain in the US costs the economy $560 billion annually.
- Common herbal remedies can be used for natural chronic pain relief.
Chronic Pain Statistics Worldwide
1. Around 1.5 billion people suffer from chronic pain globally.
(BU School of Public Health)
It is estimated that about one in five people worldwide experiences chronic pain during their life, with prevalence increasing with age. The chronic pain definition relates to pain lasting for more than three months.
2. The prevalence of chronic pain in America is projected between 11–40%.
About 20.4% of Americans suffer from chronic pain, which accounts for more than 40 million US adults. This makes chronic pain a common health problem, according to the CDC and its chronic pain statistics.
3. 1.9 billion people are affected by chronic headaches.
These statistics on pain are here to answer the question of how common is chronic pain. Recurrent tension-type headaches are the most common symptomatic chronic pain condition.
4. Low back and neck pain are the foremost causes of disability.
Chronic pain conditions remain in the top 10 of the prominent causes of disability in the US and modern world, the NIH chronic pain statistics reveal.
5. Up to 50% of the UK population is affected by chronic pain.
One-third to one-half of the British people, corresponding to around 28 million adults, suffer from chronic pain. The figures are similar for the other European countries, especially those with older inhabitants.
6. The prevalence of acute pain varies between 40-83% among elderly individuals.
The acute pain statistics from 2018 showed that, depending on their age, 49–83% of people above 60 living in care homes, and 40% of those living in a community suffer from acute pain. The reasons could be due to challenges in pain management, such as shortness of time, lack of staff, or lack of knowledge about these care settings.
Symptoms of Chronic Pain: Statistics and Facts
7. Chronic pain develops after a series or combination of multiple events.
Many factors influence the onset, duration, intensity, and manifestations of chronic pain, including injuries, diseases, genetics, infections, etc.
8. The presence of acute or chronic pain is the most significant clinical risk factor for another chronic pain development.
When there are painful stimuli in the body, especially severe and at multiple locations, they alter brain chemistry and lead to increased risk for chronic pain development, according to statistics of chronic pain in America.
9. 88% of patients with chronic pain suffer from an additional chronic condition.
Physical and mental comorbidity increased the risk of getting a chronic illness with pain symptoms later in life.
10. Severe chronic pain is associated with an increased mortality rate.
Patients who suffer from severe chronic pain are twice more likely to die from ischaemic heart disease or respiratory problems in the next ten years.
Facts on High-Impact Chronic Pain
11. HICP affects nearly 8% of US adults.
This is a condition that limits life or work activities, including social, recreational, and self-care activities. It is similar to chronic pain, but it’s more prevalent in people with low education and income, as well as adults with public health insurance.
12. More than 80% of patients with HICP are unable to work.
One-third of these patients experience difficulties in taking care of themselves, such as washing and getting dressed.
13. Almost 11 million Americans complain of HICP.
(Journal of Pain)
This is a kind of pain that lasts longer than three months and is accompanied by at least one significant activity restriction (working, studying, managing household, etc.). Moreover, this severe pain is associated with mental health problems and cognitive impairments.
14. Low back and neck pain are on the increase globally.
Approximately 29% of the adult Americans reported experiencing lower back pain compared with 28.1% in 1997. Furthermore, one-third of patients over 65 are affected by chronic low back pain.
Chronic Pain and Depression Statistics
15. Chronic pain and depression often go together.
It was estimated that 20–50% of patients with chronic pain have depression. The more severe the pain, the more likely it is for patients to have concomitant depression. Furthermore, the combination of two conditions runs in some families.
16. Chronic pain increases the risk of suicide.
Chronic pain has long been considered a significant risk factor for suicidal behavior. All factors responsible for the increased risk for suicide are not fully understood; however, chronic pain and suicide statistics established that the risk is related mainly to concomitant depression and medications for pain relief abuse. However, a suicide risk profile should be estimated for each person who suffers from chronic pain.
17. Adequate pain control may include the resolution of anxiety and depression.
To ensure effective analgesia, the bidirectional relationship between chronic pain and psychiatric disorders requires medication for mental health conditions as well, according to chronic pain statistics from 2019.
18. Comorbidity of psychiatric conditions leads to outcomes worse than chronic pain.
The relative need for consultation increases when patients complain of depression, anxiety, tension, “nerves,” etc., and it happens in 38–52.2% of the general population. Moreover, negative beliefs about pain are also associated with poor clinical outcomes.
How much does chronic pain cost?
19. Chronic pain in the US costs the economy $560 billion annually.
The estimated expenses are due to direct medical costs ($261 billion to $300 billion), lost productivity, and disability.
20. The cost of pain was more than that of managing and treating heart disease and cancer.
The need for cost reduction through better treatment is apparent. The number of missed days of work results in losses of up to $12.7 billion. Lost work hours amount to $96.5 billion losses, and lower wages cost the economy $226.3 billion.
21. The annual cost for patients with chronic low back pain is around $8,500.
Chronic pain statistics worldwide, released in 2018, show that the yearly expenses accompanied by the management of chronic discogenic low back pain burden both healthcare and the society almost equally.
22. Chronic joint pain costs around £1,118 per patient in the UK annually.
As the knee pain is considered as one of the significant causes of pain and disability, it is not surprising that the annual health and social expenses for these patients are high.
Chronic Pain Statistics on the Therapeutic Approach From 2018 and Beyond
23. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an essential part of chronic pain treatment.
This form of talk therapy helps patients by identifying their own experiences, behaviors, and negative thoughts about their chronic pain, to change their awareness of pain, and implement better coping skills with the conditions.
24. Treatment of chronic pain usually includes medications.
The most effective therapy against swelling and inflammation accompanying chronic pain are the NSAIDs. Other frequently prescribed drugs are acetaminophen, COX-2 inhibitors, antidepressants, and anti-epileptic medicines. However, opioids are seldom prescribed due to being infamous for causing the most prescription drug-related overdose deaths in the US, as CDC chronic pain statistics reported.
25. Curcumin is researched extensively for chronic pain management.
Although the effects of curcumin on chronic pain, derived from the plant Curcuma longa, are not fully elucidated, it is used as an efficient remedy for pathological pain.
26. Glucosamine and chondroitin were considered as a non-effective treatment for different pain conditions, according to chronic pain statistics.
(Harvard Health Publishing)
Different types and doses of these remedies were tried, unfortunately, with no benefits for the patients. However, studies are still ongoing.
27. Collagen products may improve chronic pain symptoms.
Collagen can ease the osteoarthritis-related knee pain but also was shown to be effective in lower back pain management, to prevent bone loss, to help build muscle mass, etc., as acute and chronic pain statistics in 2018 stated.
28. Common herbal remedies can be used for natural chronic pain relief.
Derived from hot chili peppers, capsaicin, for example, reduces the levels of pain-related substance P, whereas the phytochemicals in ginger help to cease the inflammation accompanying chronic pain. Feverfew and turmeric are also used for easing chronic pain, especially in the joints. However, their effectiveness has to be further confirmed. The same applies to the devil’s claw used in managing arthritis and lower back pain.
More interesting facts and stats about supplements can be found at https://www.supplements101.net/.
Who suffers from chronic pain?
Patients with health issues like low back pain, arthritis, osteoarthritis, headache, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, and shingles are more likely to experience chronic pain. It is essential to remember that treating primary disorders would have a significant impact on pain management.
How many people suffer from chronic pain in the world?
Approximately 1.5 billion people suffer from chronic pain globally. Depending on the type of chronic pain, due to inflammation, neural damage, ischemic, and compression-based damage, a different proportion of people is affected. With the aging population, the prevalence of chronic pain is expected to rise further.
What is the most common chronic pain?
The most common types of chronic pain are associated with arthritis, nerve damage, and cancer. Furthermore, these conditions tend to progress; thus, chronic pain accompanies them to the end. Chronic headaches are also among the leading causes of chronic pain, estimated to affect almost half of the world’s adult population in the last year and nearly 90% in their lifetime.
Which population has the highest prevalence of chronic pain?
The highest prevalence of chronic pain was reported in populations with a low level of education and income, who often live in neighborhood-deprived areas. Regarding ethnicity, non-Hispanic whites reported the highest age-adjusted prevalence of chronic pain (21%). Interestingly, no differences in the rate of a severe, long-lasting chronic pain between groups was observed. The impact of the population factors on chronic pain is not clear at the moment.
Chronic pain statistics reveal that this kind of pain is usually associated with an underlying serious health condition. Because it is a long-term health problem, chronic pain often leads to complications associated with both physical symptoms and the presence of psychological features such as depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders.
Chronic pain complicates all aspects of life — work, family relationships, social involvement, coping with tasks, maintaining sports and hobbies, and more. Because of this, deteriorated relationships and financial instability are often detected. Most studies show that the more severe the pain, the more dangerous these problems are. For these reasons, the more chronic pain statistics you know, the more prepared you will be to deal with the health issues.