US Insights

Millions of Americans Battle Constant Pain

Meghan Bazaman

Research Analyst

Health 11.02.2018 / 08:00

Painrawpixel-761477-unsplash

Nearly 70.6 million U.S. adults experience high levels of pain.

American adults report a lot of pain. According to Kantar Media’s 2018 MARS Consumer Health study, nearly 70.6 million U.S. adults currently have or had experienced pain in the last year. Among the close to 30% of those that have pain, 3 in 4 classify it as either moderate or severe.

A number of conditions cause pain, but for certain patients pain is a primary symptom.

Experience Pain as a Symptom

Among professionally diagnosed with condition:


Fibromyalgia and Ankylosing Spondylitis are the top conditions with two thirds experiencing pain. Among pain sufferers, 57% say their pain is the symptom of any condition.

What Degree of Pain?

One indicator of the severity of pain is how it interferes with the ability to fall or stay asleep. 19.6 million adults (28%) have severe levels of pain. Of them, the clear majority say it prevents them from falling asleep or staying asleep at night:

79% Say Pain Interferes With Sleep

59% of adults experiencing severe pain are addressing it by taking a prescription drug while 57% take an over-the-counter drug. Nearly 1 in 3 are taking both an Rx and an OTC medication to treat their pain:

Pain OTC-Rx -Meds

Treatment Options Being Used

Severe sufferers use alternative and other non-conventional treatments to help manage pain:

  • 1 in 4 are treating pain with vitamins/supplements or herbal/home remedies
  • 22% physical therapy or surgery
  • 18% injections
  • 8% medical marijuana

Additionally, 24% of adults with severe pain take a sleeping aid (OTC or Rx).

Impact of Severe Pain

Pain may significantly disrupt a patient’s daily routine and become psychologically or emotionally detrimental. Severe pain sufferers are 125% more likely to have or have had depression in the last year compared to total adults.


Connecting With Others

Severe pain sufferers value support or health information in the form of online communities and content sharing websites. Compared to total adults, they are more likely to value the following as a source for health-related information:

  • 38% online communities or support groups
  • 36% drug company/brand websites
  • 35% social networking sites

Severe pain sufferers are 23% more likely to feel comfortable registering on a website which consistently offers useful condition information.

Source: Kantar Media

Editor's Notes

Kantar Media’s MARS Consumer Health Study is a trusted information source for reaching different patient groups and uncovering deep consumer insights. It provides stable and reliable media and healthcare data that is projectable to the U.S. population to better meet the needs of agencies, marketers, healthcare facilities, insurers and media companies. The study contains detailed information among U.S. adults including online and offline media usage for 100+ consumer magazines, newspapers and health-related publications as well as TV, radio, and internet usage.

Click here to learn more

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