Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 14 (9), 972-9

Chronic Widespread Pain Predicts Physical Inactivity: Results From the Prospective EPIFUND Study


Chronic Widespread Pain Predicts Physical Inactivity: Results From the Prospective EPIFUND Study

John McBeth et al. Eur J Pain.


This study tested the hypothesis that chronic widespread pain (CWP) would predict low levels of physical activity (PA). Pain status and PA levels were ascertained at baseline and 32 months in community subjects. Three PA questions were used: "in comparison with others your own age, is your PA "the same" (referent), "more-much more" or "less-much less"", and "during the past month on average how many days/week have you taken exercise that has (i) lasted at least 20 min? and (ii) made you sweat?: "4-7" (referent), "1-3" or "none"". Multinomial logistic regression models quantified the relationship between baseline CWP and PA at follow-up (relative risk ratios (RRR) (95% confidence intervals)). Two thousands one hundred and eighty-two subjects participated and provided complete pain and PA information at both timepoints. CWP was reported by 18% (n=429) of participants at baseline. Compared to subjects who were free of CWP at baseline, those with CWP had an increased odds of reporting "less-much less" PA at follow-up (RRR=4.5 (3.2-6.2)). This relationship remained after adjustment for confounders (RRR=1.9 (1.3-2.9)). A similar association was observed with exercise that lasted at least 20 min (RRR=1.9 (1.3-2.8)). The current study suggests that low self-reported levels of physical activity are a consequence of having CWP.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Flowchart of baseline and follow-up participation.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Relationship between baseline pain and reporting physical inactivity at follow-up.
Fig. 3
Fig. 3
Hypothesised pathway illustrating route from chronic widespread pain to increased risk of morbidity and mortality.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 22 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Andersson H.I. Increased mortality among individuals with chronic widespread pain relates to lifestyle factors: a prospective population-based study. Disabil Rehabil. 2009;31:1980–1987. - PubMed
    1. Arnold L.M., Bradley L.A., Clauw D.J., Glass J.M., Goldenberg D.L. Multidisciplinary care and stepwise treatment for fibromyalgia. J Clin Psychiat. 2008;69:e35. - PubMed
    1. Brugha T., Bebbington P., Tennant C., Hurry J. The list of threatening experiences: a subset of 12 life event categories with considerable long-term contextual threat. Psychol Med. 1985;15:189–194. - PubMed
    1. Busch A.J., Schachter C.L., Overend T.J., Peloso P.M., Barber K.A. Exercise for fibromyalgia: a systematic review. J Rheumatol. 2008;35:1130–1144. - PubMed
    1. Campbell C.M., Edwards R.R. Mind-body interactions in pain: the neurophysiology of anxious and catastrophic pain-related thoughts. Transl Res. 2009;153:97–101. - PMC - PubMed

Publication types