Features  |   June 2014
The Global Burden Of Chronic Pain
Author Affiliations
  • K.A. Kelly McQueen, M.D., M.P.H.
    Committee on Global Humanitarian Outreach
    Chair
Article Information
Pain Medicine / Features
Features   |   June 2014
The Global Burden Of Chronic Pain
ASA Monitor 06 2014, Vol.78, 24-27.
ASA Monitor 06 2014, Vol.78, 24-27.
Chronic pain affects at least 10 percent of the world’s population – approximately 60 million people – with estimates of chronic pain prevalence closer to 20-25 percent in some countries and regions. An additional one in 10 people develop chronic pain every year worldwide. However, akin to the general global burden of disease, risk factors for persistent pain and management options are distributed unequally between high-income and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), with those most disadvantaged bearing higher burdens of persistent pain and lesser likelihood of effective treatment.1  In 2004, the International Pain Society and Global Health Community concluded that “failure to treat pain is viewed worldwide as poor medicine, unethical practice, and an abrogation of a fundamental human right.”2  Since that time, pain management is described in international law as a basic human right, with countries ethically mandated to provide pain treatment as part of their core obligations under the right to health.3 
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