Table 52Severe headache or migraine, low back pain, and neck pain among adults 18 years of age and over, by selected characteristics: United States, selected years 1997–2010

Updated data when available, Excel, PDF, more data years, and standard errors:

[Data are based on household interviews of a sample of the civilian noninstitutionalized population]

CharacteristicSevere headache or migraine 1Low back pain 1Neck pain 1
Percent of adults with pain during past 3 months
18 years and over, age-adjusted 2,315.816.116.628.228.128.414.715.115.4
18 years and over, crude 316.015.816.428.128.528.814.615.415.8
18–44 years18.719.720.426.124.525.213.313.013.1
 18–24 years18.717.019.621.918.
 25–44 years18.720.620.727.326.727.214.314.614.8
45–64 years15.815.015.631.332.632.417.019.120.0
 45–54 years17.817.216.731.331.931.317.319.619.1
 55–64 years12.712.
65 years and over7.06.36.429.531.831.815.014.614.8
 65–74 years8.26.97.430.230.132.515.015.215.5
 75 years and over5.
Sex 2
Sex and age
 18–44 years11.911.813.524.822.223.211.610.511.0
 45–54 years10.311.510.429.431.829.613.917.116.3
 55–64 years8.88.49.630.730.932.814.615.517.6
 65–74 years5.04.85.529.026.328.413.611.812.8
 75 years and over*
 18–44 years25.427.527.327.326.727.114.915.515.2
 45–54 years24.922.822.933.
 55–64 years16.315.718.231.735.834.718.421.424.1
 65–74 years10.
 75 years and over7.47.05.832.436.233.216.513.914.6
Race 2,4
White only15.916.316.728.728.829.115.115.716.0
Black or African American only16.717.018.226.926.627.213.312.913.3
American Indian or Alaska Native only18.921.818.833.330.533.616.219.016.9
Asian only11.78.410.121.017.819.
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander only- - -**- - -**- - -**
2 or more races- - -21.021.5- - -36.235.6- - -19.722.0
Hispanic origin and race 2,4
Hispanic or Latino15.516.416.226.426.327.413.915.115.1
Not Hispanic or Latino15.916.216.828.428.528.714.915.315.5
 White only16.116.617.029.129.429.715.416.116.3
 Black or African American only16.816.918.426.926.627.113.312.913.3
Education 5,6
25 years and over:
 No high school diploma or GED19.219.918.233.635.034.516.518.418.9
 High school diploma or GED16.016.217.430.232.231.915.516.916.8
 Some college or more13.814.915.126.927.428.014.615.315.8
Percent of poverty level 2,7
Below 100%23.322.022.735.435.434.918.620.820.2
400% or more12.412.513.324.823.924.712.813.113.1
Hispanic origin and race and percent of poverty level 2,4,7
Hispanic or Latino:
 Below 100%18.919.419.629.531.329.016.419.417.4
 400% or more13.
Not Hispanic or Latino:
 White only:
  Below 100%
  400% or more12.513.013.825.424.925.213.113.713.6
 Black or African American only:
  Below 100%22.723.024.034.533.332.517.917.718.6
  400% or more12.913.112.221.519.921.011.910.78.5
Disability measure 2,8
Any basic actions difficulty or complex activity limitation29.330.
 Any basic actions difficulty30.031.030.949.351.651.127.930.229.0
 Any complex activity limitation34.633.536.
No disability11.011.311.719.418.619.
Geographic region 2
Location of residence 2
Within MSA 915.215.516.327.027.127.514.214.614.9
Outside MSA 918.119.318.632.533.333.816.417.718.1

Estimates are considered unreliable. Data preceded by an asterisk have a relative standard error (RSE) of 20%–30%. Data not shown have an RSE greater than 30%.

- - -

Data not available.


In three separate questions, respondents were asked, “During the past 3 months, did you have a severe headache or migraine? ...low back pain? ...neck pain?” Respondents were instructed to report pain that had lasted a whole day or more, and not to report fleeting or minor aches or pains. Persons may be represented in more than one column.


Estimates are age-adjusted to the year 2000 standard population using five age groups: 18–44 years, 45–54 years, 55–64 years, 65–74 years, and 75 years and over. Age-adjusted estimates in this table may differ from other age-adjusted estimates based on the same data and presented elsewhere if different age groups are used in the adjustment procedure. See Appendix II, Age adjustment.


Includes all other races not shown separately, unknown education level, and unknown disability status.


The race groups, white, black, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and 2 or more races, include persons of Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Starting with 1999 data, race-specific estimates are tabulated according to the 1997 Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity and are not strictly comparable with estimates for earlier years. The five single-race categories plus multiple-race categories shown in the table conform to the 1997 Standards. Starting with 1999 data, race-specific estimates are for persons who reported only one racial group; the category 2 or more races includes persons who reported more than one racial group. Prior to 1999, data were tabulated according to the 1977 Standards with four racial groups, and the Asian only category included Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. Estimates for single-race categories prior to 1999 included persons who reported one race or, if they reported more than one race, identified one race as best representing their race. Starting with 2003 data, race responses of other race and unspecified multiple race were treated as missing, and then race was imputed if these were the only race responses. Almost all persons with a race response of other race were of Hispanic origin. See Appendix II, Hispanic origin; Race.


Estimates are for persons 25 years of age and over and are age-adjusted to the year 2000 standard population using five age groups: 25–44 years, 45–54 years, 55–64 years, 65–74 years, and 75 years and over. See Appendix II, Age adjustment.


GED is General Educational Development high school equivalency diploma. See Appendix II, Education.


Percent of poverty level is based on family income and family size and composition using U.S. Census Bureau poverty thresholds. Missing family income data were imputed for 1997 and beyond. See Appendix II, Family income; Poverty; Table VI.


Any basic actions difficulty or complex activity limitation is defined as having one or more of the following limitations or difficulties: movement difficulty, emotional difficulty, sensory (seeing or hearing) difficulty, cognitive difficulty, self-care (Activities of daily living or Instrumental activities of daily living) limitation, social limitation, or work limitation. For more information, see Appendix II, Basic actions difficulty; Complex activity limitation. Starting with 2007 data, the hearing question, a component of the basic actions difficulty measure, was revised. Consequently, data prior to 2007 are not comparable with data for 2007 and beyond. For more information on the impact of the revised hearing question, see Appendix II, Hearing trouble.


MSA is metropolitan statistical area. Starting with 2006 data, MSA status is determined using 2000 census data and the 2000 standards for defining MSAs. For data prior to 2006, see Appendix II, Metropolitan statistical area (MSA) for the applicable standards.

NOTES: Standard errors are available in the spreadsheet version of this table. Available from: http://www​ Data for additional years are available. See Appendix III.

SOURCE: CDC/NCHS, National Health Interview Survey, sample adult questionnaire. See Appendix I, National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

From: Trend Tables

Cover of Health, United States, 2011
Health, United States, 2011: With Special Feature on Socioeconomic Status and Health.
National Center for Health Statistics (US).
Hyattsville (MD): National Center for Health Statistics (US); 2012 May.

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