How Common Are Different Kinds of Pain in the United States?

Published: August 23, 2012

Note that the figures for Fibromyalgia in the United States are over a decade old, and that newer figures overseas suggest that the prevalence of Fibromyalgia in the United States has increased to 4-8% of the population (12-24 million people)—especially when "intermediate/milder" forms are included.

Estimates of the prevalence of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States: Part II.

Reva C Lawrence, David T Felson, Charles G Helmick, Lesley M Arnold, Hyon Choi, Richard A Deyo, Sherine Gabriel, Rosemarie Hirsch, Marc C Hochberg, Gene G Hunder, Joanne M Jordan, Jeffrey N Katz, Hilal Maradit Kremers, Frederick Wolfe, and National Arthritis Data Workgroup.
Arthritis Rheum, December 28, 2007; 58(1): 26-35.

This NIH study estimated that among U.S. adults:

1. Nearly 27 million have clinical osteoarthritis (up from the estimate of 21 million for 1995),

2. 711,000 have polymyalgia rheumatic and of these 228,000 have giant cell arteritis,

3. Up to 3.0 million have had self-reported gout in the past year (up from the estimate of 2.1 million for 1995),

4. 5.0 million have fibromyalgia (again, this reflects old data and it is now closer to 12-24 million Americans),

5. 4-10 million have carpal tunnel syndrome,

6. 59 million have had low back pain in the past 3 months, and

7. 30.1 million have had neck pain in the past 3 months.

As the study shows, ~ 145 million Americans suffer with chronic pain, and these numbers seem to be rising pretty rapidly. Though part of this reflects aging baby boomers, much of the increase reflects problems in modern day life from nutritional deficiencies, dietary changes which encourage inflammation, hormonal deficiencies (usually with normal labs) triggered by environmental factors and other environmental triggers.

Most physicians are simply not trained in addressing pain—and this is a major reason why chronic pain is so common. The good news is that almost all pain can now be effectively addressed using a mix of natural and prescription therapies. For more information, see Pain Free 1-2-3.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. His newest book (June 10, 2024) is You Can Heal From Long COVID. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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