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Pain. 1999 Feb;79(2-3):275-9.

Relationship between the chronic pain grade and measures of physical, social and psychological well-being.

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  • 1Medical Statistics Unit, University of Edinburgh, Medical School, UK.


Chronic pain is an important cause of suffering, disability and loss of productivity within the community. Chronic pain can also be viewed as a multidimensional phenomenon, and may be associated with increased suffering of a social and psychological nature, as well as physical suffering. In this paper, the severity of the chronic pain gradings (CPG) is defined in terms of physical, social and psychological well-being, as measured by the SF36 and Glasgow Pain Questionnaire. Although previous work has shown the chronic pain grade to be a valid measure of chronic pain severity, little is known of the relationship between this and other health measures. A random sample of 5036 individuals, representative of the general population, stratified for age and sex, was drawn. A further sample of 4175 patients was drawn from a list of patients enrolled for repeat prescriptions for analgesic medication. A questionnaire survey was carried out, and response rates of 82 and 87% were achieved, respectively. The comparisons described confirm the widespread impact of chronic pain on all aspects of health, supporting the multidimensional view. These findings are important in addressing the management of chronic pain patients, and in particular, the social and psychological well-being of a patient needs to be addressed in parallel with the physical well-being in order to successfully reduce the suffering associated with chronic pain.

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