The economical impact of pain

Darrell J. Gaskin*, Patrick Richard, Joseph Walburn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Pain afflicts about 20% of adults globally. The source of pain ranges from a variety of health conditions, including arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, fibromyalgia, back pain, cancer and chronic pain. Pain is very costly to society and individuals . It typically requires costly ongoing medical treatment and increases the costs of treating other health conditions. In addition to medical care costs, pain has indirect costs because it reduces labor market productivity through presenteeism and absenteeism. Workers with pain are sometimes unable to function at their full capabilities. Also, pain can cause workers to missed days or reduce their participation in the labor market from full-time-to part time or even drop out of the labor market altogether. Gaskin and Richard (J Pain 13(8):715-724, 2012, [1]) estimated the annual cost of chronic and persistent pain in the United States ranged from $560 to $635 billion in 2010. Gustavsson et al. (Eur J Pain, 2012, [2]) estimated that on average adults in Sweden incurred an annual costs of medical care due to chronic pain conditions of €2650 and loss annually €6429 in labor market productivity. This study reviews estimates of the costs of pain across a variety of countries and for several conditions that cause pain. The bottom line is pain regardless of the country or condition is costly.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeuroimaging of Pain
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783319480466
ISBN (Print)9783319480442
StatePublished - 8 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Costs of pain
  • Direct medical care costs
  • Individual costs
  • Labor market costs
  • Societal costs


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