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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.

Author information

  • 1Department of General Practice and Health Services Research, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany. stefan.hensler@gmx.net

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

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

METHODS:

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.

RESULTS:

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.

CONCLUSION:

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

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