After a similar report in 2016, the CDC has released new study data about the prevalence of chronic pain in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on April 23, 2023. Chronic pain continues to affect more than one in five U.S. adults. This report included more details such as pain prevalence was higher in adults who were American Indian or Alaska Native, who identified as bisexual, or who were divorced or separated, the researchers said.

During 2021, an estimated 51.6 million adults (20.9%) had chronic pain lasting 3 months or longer, and 17.1 million (6.9%) had high-impact chronic pain — pain severe enough to restrict daily activities — reported S. Michaela Rikard, PhD, of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and co-authors.

What are the Implications for Public Health?

“Clinicians, practices, health systems, and payers should vigilantly attend to health inequities and ensure access to appropriate, affordable, diversified, coordinated, and effective pain management care for all persons,” Rikard and colleagues wrote.