The following chronic pain statistics are taken from the American Academy of Pain Medicine, National Institutes and Health, American Chiropractic Association, and American Society of Addiction Medicine. They represent our fact sheet on chronic pain and cover chronic pain statistics in the U.S.

Chronic pain statistics in the U.S. 

  • Pain affects more people in the U.S. than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined
  • 126 million, or 55% of all adults, experienced pain in the previous three months
  • 4 million U.S. adults report “a lot of pain”
  • 3 million U.S. adults suffer from daily pain
  • Various reports list that over 50 million, but up to 100 million, U.S. adults have chronic pain conditions, an estimate that does not include acute pain conditions or children in pain
  • More than one-quarter of adults (26%) age 20 years and over – or, an estimated 76.5 million people – report that they have had a problem with pain of any sort that persisted for more than 24 hours in duration
  • Of those in pain, 27% suffer from lower back pain, 15% from severe headache or migraine pain, and 15% from neck pain

Chronic Pain Statistics |

Economic statistics on pain 

  • Pain is a significant public health problem that costs society at least $560-$635 billion annually, an amount equal to about $2,000.00 for everyone living in the U.S.
  • People in the U.S. spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain treatment
  • Pain is associated with a wide range of injury and disease, and is sometimes the disease itself
  • Some conditions may have pain and associated symptoms arising from a discrete cause, such as postoperative pain or pain associated with a malignancy, or may be conditions in which pain constitutes the primary problem, such as neuropathic pains or headaches
  • The total annual incremental cost of health care due to pain ranges from $560 billion to $635 billion (in 2010 dollars) in the United States, which combines the medical costs of pain care and the economic costs related to disability days and lost wages and productivity
  • There are currently over 4,000 U.S. doctors in practice for the management of pain

Back pain statistics 

  • Low back pain is the leading cause of disability in the world
  • 80% of U.S. adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives
  • Up to 6 million patients suffer from chronic back pain
  • Adults with lower back pain are often in worse physical and mental health than people who do not have low back pain
  • 28% of adults with lower back pain report limited activity due to a chronic condition, as compared to 10% of adults who do not have lower back pain
  • Also, adults reporting lower back pain were three times as likely to be in fair or poor health
  • Back pain patients are more than four times as likely to experience serious psychological distress as people without lower back pain
  • Back is one of the most common reasons for missed work, and the second-leading cause for doctor’s visits

Back Pain Statistics |

Statistics on prescription opioids 

The following statistics pertain to the prescription pain pill epidemic:

  • 20,404 people died from prescription opioid overdose in 2015
  • 2 million people had a substance abuse disorder involving prescription opioids
  • Overdose rates quadrupled between 1999 and 2008
  • Opioid abuse is tied to overdose deaths, burglary of pharmacies, and increased crime nationally
  • Prescription drugs are the second-most abused category of drugs in the United States, following marijuana

Prescription pain pills should never be the front-line treatment for chronic pain. By their very nature, they can help with acute cases of pain–like a fracture or post-surgery. But, they don’t work for many patients on a long-term basis. And since these medications often don’t work and can lead to issues of abuse and misuse, we recommend that many patients don’t start with these.

Instead, at we encourage patients to incorporate lifestyle changes, minimally-invasive procedures, and complementary therapies into their pain management routine before using opioids for pain relief. For those patients who have exhausted all other options and may benefit from opioids, we have a 12-Step Opioid Checklist to ensure patient safety.

Chronic pain news and research 

There is always exciting research happening in the study of pain. Researchers are hard at work finding the most innovative ways to prevent, manage, and treat chronic pain conditions. You can keep up all of the latest chronic pain news and research in the Research section of our blog.

What other chronic pain statistics are you interested in learning about? To find help with your chronic pain condition, click the button below to find a pain specialist. They can help you find the help you need to relieve your pain and get back to your life.

Find Your Pain Doctor