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Pain Med. 2009 Nov;10(8):1408-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2009.00735.x.

Chronic pain in German general practice.

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  • 1Department of General Practice and Health Services Research, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.



This study evaluates the prevalence of chronic pain, intensity of pain, activity limitation, and pain-related diagnoses in German general practices.


In 40 general practices, up to 50 consecutive patients presenting to general practitioners (GP) for routine medical consultation were questioned, and those reporting pain that lasted for more than 3 months received a questionnaire referring to intensity of pain and activity limitations. GPs received a questionnaire asking about the duration of treatment and diagnoses.


Three hundred forty-six out of 1,860 questioned patients suffered from pain that lasted for more than 3 months (a point prevalence of 18.4% [95% confidence interval 16.7-20.3]). The average degree of pain equaled 5 out of 10 points on a numerical grading scale (NRS); the average degree of activity limitation was 4.8 out of 10. In most cases, the pain was related to musculoskeletal degenerative diseases.


Chronic pain patients constitute a considerable share of workload in general practice.

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