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.