If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that pain doesn’t stop for a global pandemic. When it comes to chronic pain statistics, 2021 gave us a lot to learn. Here are 40 chronic pain statistics to know in 2021, plus a sampling of chronic pain research from 2020.

COVID-19 and chronic pain statistics

COVID-19 posed extraordinary challenges across the globe. One issue that has jumped to the forefront is managing chronic conditions when everyone is advised to stay home. The medical community has responded by increasing their telehealth offerings and relaxing prescribing guidelines during this time.

But that’s just one of the many chronic pain statistics. 2021 is here, and COVID-19 isn’t going away just yet.

Here are five COVID-19 and chronic pain statistics we are tracking for 2021:

  1. Over 40% of adults in the U.S. have a co-morbid condition that makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19
  2. Because chronic pain affects the immune system, chronic pain patients may be especially at risk
  3. 59% of pain patients accessed telemedicine during the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, up from 11% the previous year
  4. Pain patients managing their own conditions remotely experience lower levels of pain, higher functioning, and better quality of life than patients who do not seek help (in person or via telehealth)
  5. Thousands of patients who survive COVID-19 will join a small but growing group of “long-haulers” with permanent damage to their lungs and other organs

Whether you are being treated for chronic pain during the time of COVID-19 or not, the single most effective thing you can do to keep yourself healthy is to wear a facemask.

Further, we recommend reading this post on the effects of chronic pain (or any chronic condition) on your immune system. Wearing a mask is a great first step, but this post breaks down further steps you can take to protect your health.

Chronic pain demographics

Who suffers from chronic pain? Pain research studies report consistent data that doesn’t move much over the years, but it’s getting complicated. Many groups underreport pain, and others that do report find their complaints falling on deaf ears. Here’s the start of what we know.

  1. Chronic pain statistics worldwide show that adults with less than a high school education make up 28% of pain sufferers
  2. Almost 24% of non-Hispanic white people report chronic pain
  3. Just over 19% of Black people suffer from chronic pain, but this is complicated by a variety of factors (see numbers 4–7)
  4. Almost 50% of first- and second-year medical trainees believe that Black people don’t feel pain as much as their white counterparts
  5. Black people are 22% less likely to be adequately treated for their chronic pain
  6. Black people are also 40% less likely to receive medications for their pain and 34% less likely to be presc