Recent emphasis on pain and its impact on the health and well-being of individuals evoked the interest of health care providers about services needed for effective and efficient pain management. This study was undertaken to examine the feasibility of using a mailed survey to determine the prevalence, nature, and extent of pain being experienced by Western New York Veterans. The specific aims were to (1) determine the feasibility of using a mailed survey to obtain information about pain in a population of Veterans; (2) estimate the extent of pain in the sample; and (3) describe the nature and impact of the pain experienced by the respondents. A comprehensive survey was prepared by modifying preexisting, widely used pain-assessment tools to describe a Veteran group's pain experience. It was mailed to a randomly selected sample of 150 Veterans registered at a primary care clinic at the Western New York Veterans Administration Health System. A 76% response rate (n=114) was obtained. Respondents declared a wide variety of health problems, and 71% reported having pain. The average number of body parts affected was 4.4 of a possible 11. The average intensity of pain was moderate; 35% reported constant pain, and 85% reported the pain to be occurring for years. Seventy-nine respondents described their pain to be interfering with their life and well-being. Medication was the primary treatment approach and was reported as ineffective by 48%. Veterans' satisfaction with specific aspects of pain treatment was mixed.