Pain Facts & Figures

Pain by the Numbers

100 million—approximate number of U.S. adults with common chronic pain conditions

$560 to 635 billion—conservative estimate of the annual cost of chronic pain in America

$99 billion—2008 cost to federal and state governments of medical expenditures for pain

60 percent—percentage of women experiencing their first childbirth who rate pain as severe; 18 percent of women who have caesarean deliveries and 10 percent who have vaginal deliveries report persistent pain at 1 year

80 percent—percentage of patients undergoing surgery who experience postoperative pain; fewer than half report adequate pain relief: of these, 88 percent report the pain is moderate, severe, or extreme; 10 to 50 percent of patients with postsurgical pain develop chronic pain, depending on the type of surgery; and for 2 to 10 percent of these patients, this chronic postoperative pain is severe

5 percent—proportion of American women aged 18 to 65 who experience headache 15 or more days per month over the course of 1 year

60 percent—percentage of patients visiting the emergency department with acute painful conditions who receive analgesics: median time to receipt of pain medication is 90 minutes, and 74 percent of emergency department patients are discharged in moderate to severe pain

2.1 million—number of annual visits to U.S. emergency departments for acute headache (of 115 million total annual visits)

62 percent—percentage of U.S. nursing home residents who report pain: arthritis is the most common painful condition, and 17 percent have substantial daily pain

26.4 percent—percentage of Americans who report low back pain lasting at least a day in the last 3 months

Institute of Medicine Report Relieving Pain in America, 2011, p. 28, Box 1-4

Additional Reading

Arthritis Pain Worse Among Minorities (PDF)

Prevalence and Management of Pain, by Race and Dementia Among Nursing Home Residents: United States, 2004 (PDF)