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Pain. 1989 May;37(2):215-22.

The prevalence of pain in a general population. The results of a postal survey in a county of Sweden.

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Department of Anaesthesia, Sandviken Hospital, Sweden.


In a postal survey, we asked 1009 randomly chosen individuals, age 18-84, about their pain problems. The pain prevalence depended on what types of questions were asked. Any pain or discomfort, including even a problem of short duration, was reported by 66% of those questioned. Forty percent reported 'obvious pain' (pain which affected them 'to quite a high degree' or more and was 'like being stiff after exercise' or worse) lasting more than 6 months. Pain problems of more than 6 months duration were reported far more often than short-lasting problems. Continuous or nearly continuous pain problems were reported as frequently as problems recurring regularly or irregularly. Pains in the neck, shoulders, arms, lower back and legs were most frequent. The prevalence of 'obvious pain' in these localizations was 15-20%. Pain was reported most frequently in the age group 45-64, where the prevalence of 'obvious pain' was 50% among males as well as females. Over 65 years of age the prevalence was less.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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