The epidemiology of chronic pain in a general population: results of a survey in southern Sweden

Scand J Rheumatol. 2010;39(5):421-9. doi: 10.3109/03009741003685616.


Objectives: The aim was to investigate the prevalence of chronic pain in different age groups and pain locations, as well as to identify variables associated with chronic pain.

Methods: This cross-sectional survey had a randomized age-stratified sample comprising 826 respondents aged 18–102 years. Comparisons were made across age groups and pain locations. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to identify variables associated with chronic pain.

Results: The overall pain prevalence rate was 46%, with a variance of 27–55% across age groups. The prevalence increased up to the 60–74-year age group, after which it remained more or less constant. The pain sites differed across age groups. Forty-six per cent of the respondents had not received any diagnosis or did not know the reason for their pain, while 21% had no pain management. Several complaints (e.g. appetite loss, constipation, fatigue, depressed mood) were both more prevalent and more severe among those in pain than those with no pain. The regression analysis showed that body mass index (BMI), fatigue, sleep, and mobility problems were significantly associated with chronic pain.

Conclusions: Chronic pain is common and constitutes a major public health problem. Interventions should not only be focused on the pain per se but should also include coexisting factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Young Adult