Prevalence and characteristics of chronic pain in the general Norwegian population

Eur J Pain. 2004 Dec;8(6):555-65. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2004.02.002.


Background: Population-based studies suggest that prevalence of chronic pain is increasing. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of chronic pain in a sample drawn from the general Norwegian population. In addition, the characteristics of chronic pain, as well as differences in demographic characteristics and health-related variables between persons with and without chronic pain were evaluated.

Methods: A total of 4000 Norwegian citizens, were randomly drawn from the National Register, by Statistics Norway and were mailed a questionnaire.

Results: The response rate was 48.5%. The majority of the sample was female (51%), married (59%), and working for pay (69%) with a mean age of 45.2 years. The prevalence of chronic pain in the total sample was 24.4%, and 65% of the participants with chronic pain indicated that they had experienced chronic pain for over 5 years. The cause of the pain was not specified by 57% of the participants in chronic pain, and 31% reported no pain treatments. Women, older individuals, persons with less education, and those who were pensioned, reported chronic pain more frequently. The results of a logistic regression analysis indicate that the variables that provide unique contributions to predicting pain group memberships were: gender, education, being frequently ill, or having a chronic illness.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that chronic pain is a significant problem in the general Norwegian population, and that gender, education, being frequently ill, or having a chronic illness are important variables in predicting pain group membership.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Population
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires