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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2015 Feb;131(2):75-88. doi: 10.1111/acps.12325. Epub 2014 Aug 6.

The prevalence of pain in bipolar disorder: a systematic review and large-scale meta-analysis.

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Department of Health and Social Care, Greenwich, London, UK.



To conduct a meta-analysis investigating the prevalence of pain in people with bipolar disorder (BD).


A systematic review and random effects meta-analysis searching major electronic databases from inception till 01/2014 in accordance with the PRISMA statement. We included articles reporting quantitative data on the prevalence of pain in people with BD with or without a healthy control group. Two independent authors conducted searches, extracted data, and completed methodological quality assessment.


Twenty two cross-sectional studies were included, representing 12,375,644 individuals (BD n=171,352, n controls=12,204,292). The prevalence of pain in people with BD was 28.9% (95% CI=16.4-43.4%, BD n=171,352). The relative risk (RR) of pain in BD compared to controls was 2.14 (95% CI=1.67-2.75%, n=12,342,577). The prevalence of migraine was 14.2% (95% CI=10.6-18.3%, BD n=127,905), and the RR was 3.30 (95% CI=2.27-4.80%, n=6,732,220).About 23.7% (95% CI=13.1-36.3%, n=106,214) of people with BD experienced chronic pain. Age, percentage of males, methodological quality, and method of BD classification did not explain the observed heterogeneity.


People with BD experience significantly increased levels of pain (particularly chronic pain and migraine). The assessment and treatment of pain should form an integral part of the management of BD.


bipolar disorder; chronic pain; migraine; pain; severe mental illness

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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