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Prevalence of chronic pain in Germany. A representative survey of the general population



Prevalence of chronic pain in Germany. A representative survey of the general population



Schmerz 27(1): 46-55



There are no up to date data from representative samples of the general German population on the prevalence of debilitating pain and of pain diseases available. A cross-sectional survey of a representative sample of the German general population including persons ≥ 14 years of age was conducted in 2012 based on face-to-face interviews using standardized questionnaires. Chronic pain was assessed by the widespread pain index (WPI), disability by the subscales physical functioning and role function of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC QLQ-C30) and psychological distress by the patient health questionnaire (PHQ-4). Chronic pain with associated physical and social impairments was defined by at least one pain site over 3 months in the WPI and at least one response of a moderate or severe impairment in both subscales of the EORTC 30 QLQ-C30. Chronic pain with associated physical, mental and social impairment (pain disease) required in addition a probable depressive and/or anxiety disorder in the PHQ-4. A total of 2,515 out of 4,480 (56.1 %) of contacted persons finished the study of which 32.9 % reported chronic pain, 5.4 % reported chronic pain with associated physical and social impairments and 2.3 % associated physical, mental and social impairments. No participants with local pain (only one pain site) but 24.0 % of participants with widespread pain (6-19 pain sites) met the criteria of a pain disease. The reports of chronic pain in epidemiological studies do not necessarily imply a suffering (physical, psychological and social impairment) from pain.

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Accession: 055156385

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 23321703

DOI: 10.1007/s00482-012-1280-z


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