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Disabil Rehabil. 2009;31(24):1980-7. doi: 10.3109/09638280902874154.

Increased mortality among individuals with chronic widespread pain relates to lifestyle factors: a prospective population-based study.

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School of Health and Society, Kristianstad University College, Kristianstad, Sweden.



Widespread chronic pain has been related to disability and loss of quality of life, but in a few epidemiological studies also to increased mortality. The aim of this study was to further investigate the relationship between chronic pain, lifestyle factors and all cause mortality.


A random sample of an adult (age 25-74) Swedish population (n = 1609) responded to a comprehensive questionnaire on pain, other symptoms, lifestyle, work and socioeconomic factors in 1988. Mortality data for this cohort between 1988 and 2002 were analysed. Survival analysis (Kaplan-Meier) and Cox proportional regression were used to study initially reported factors influencing survival.


Individuals with widespread chronic pain showed an increased mortality risk (hazard ratio, HR = 1.95, CI: 1.26-3.03) compared to the group without chronic pain. Death due to cardiovascular disease accounted for the increased mortality. Adjustment for lifestyle factors eliminated the excess risk.


Increased mortality among individuals with widespread chronic pain is related to factors like smoking, sleep disturbances and low physical activity. The result emphasises the importance of including lifestyle factors in a cognitive-behavioural rehabilitation process. It remains to be shown whether health promotion activities aimed at lifestyle could change mortality among individuals with chronic pain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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