Speaking Out On Pain

woman in pain holding head AP

One in every five Americans reports suffering from chronic pain, either diagnosed by a doctor or self-diagnosed. Fully seven in ten who have chronic pain say it interferes with their daily life, and as many as 65 percent of chronic pain sufferers say they take medications to treat pain on a daily basis, as do 25 percent of Americans overall.

Nineteen percent of American adults say they have experienced some sort of pain on virtually every day in the past two weeks. This includes 21 percent of women and 17 percent of men. About a third of seniors, and a quarter of those ages 45 to 64 say they live with pain everyday. In a two-week period, a typical American is in pain for an average of four days.

Fourteen percent of Americans say they have been diagnosed by a doctor as having chronic pain, and an additional five percent say they suffer from chronic pain, but have not been diagnosed by a doctor.

CBSNEWS - New York Times Polls
Do You Suffer From Chronic Pain?

 All18-2965+
Yes, diagnosed

14%

5%

24%


 All18-2965+
Yes, not diagnosed

5%

6%

3%


 All18-2965+
No80%

89%

72%

CBSNEWS Polls

Not surprisingly, older people are more likely to suffer from – and to have been diagnosed by a doctor as having – chronic pain than those who are young. About one in four senior citizens have been diagnosed as having chronic pain, compared with just five percent of those under age 30. Women are slightly more likely than men to be victims of chronic pain, 21 percent to 16 percent.

Roughly seven in every ten Americans who suffer from chronic pain say it interferes with their daily life – 39 percent say having pain interferes a lot with the things they have to do, while another 30 percent say it interferes some. However, just under one-third of those who report suffering from chronic pain say it does not affect their daily life that much.

CBSNEWS - New York Times Polls
Chronic Pain Interferes With Daily Life

 A lotSomeNot muchNot at all

39%

30%

19%

12%

CBSNEWS Polls

Twenty-five percent of Americans say they take medications to treat pain on a daily basis, including both prescription and over-the-counter medications. Of those who suffer from chronic pain, 65 percent report taking daily medications to treat their symptoms.

CBSNEWS - New York Times Polls
Taking Daily Medications To Treat Pain

 AllChronic Pain Sufferers
Yes

25%

65%


 AllChronic Pain Sufferers
No

74%

34%

CBSNEWS Polls

Among the public overall, the likelihood of taking daily medications to treat pain increases significantly with age – while only 13 percent of those under age 30 take medications to treat pain on a daily basis, that number increases to 19 percent for people between the ages of 30 to 44, 31 percent for those ages 45 to 64, and 44 percent fo senior citizens ages 65 and over. Women are somewhat more likely than men to take medications to treat pain on a daily basis.

This poll was conducted by telephone February 10-12, 2001, among 1,124 adults nationwide. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on the entire sample. Sampling error for subgroups may be higher.size>

For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.


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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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