According to research in the Journal of Pain, some patients get more medication than others for similar ailments.
The report involving 200 patients finds African-Americans were prescribed fewer pain drugs than white patients.
The study also notes that men are prescribed stronger medication than women.
The study offers some explanation for the disparities. Some people are more likely to hold off taking medication until the pain gets worse. Others would rather put up with the pain than deal with drug side effects.
Researchers stress anyone in pain should seek medical attention.