How Racial and Ethnic Disparities Affect Pain

By Madora Pennington, Pain News Network (PNN) Columnist

Much of the race-related research on chronic pain in the United States only compares Black and White Americans, leaving out many other ethnic groups and demographics.

In an attempt to broaden our understanding of who experiences pain and why, researchers culled through eight years of public surveys conducted by the CDC and the U.S. Census Bureau from 2010 to 2018. These National Health Interview Surveys gathered information from White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and multiracial Americans, giving us new insight into the role of race in pain prevalence.

“People often tend to think about pain as a personal issue or personal struggle, but it’s really a broad social and societal issue,” says Anna Zajacova, PhD, a sociology professor at the University of Western Ontario and lead author of Beyond Black vs White, a study recently published in the journal PAIN.