Functional limitations and physical symptoms of individuals with chronic pain.

S. V. Björnsdóttir*, S. H. Jónsson, U. A. Valdimarsdóttir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic pain is a debilitating condition that may cause additional symptoms affecting the sufferers' working capacity and quality of life. Studying the prevalence and consequences of chronic pain in various populations remains important for a complete picture of the global burden imposed by chronic pain conditions. We investigated the prevalence of self-reported chronic pain conditions in Iceland in addition to symptoms and functional limitations within the group, using a population-based random sample. A questionnaire was mailed to 9807 Icelanders aged 18-79 years and, of these, 5906 participated in the study. Chronic pain was considered manifest in people reporting chronic low back pain, chronic neck symptoms, and/or fibromyalgia. Prevalence calculations were weighted with respect to gender, age, and residential area to represent the underlying population. Associations of chronic pain conditions with symptoms and functional limitations were measured with adjusted logistic regression models, contrasting symptoms in individuals reporting any of the three pain conditions with those who did not. The population-estimated prevalence of chronic pain condition was 19.9% with distinct gender differences (men = 15.2%, women = 24.7%). Several symptoms and functional limitations in daily life were strongly associated with chronic pain, including deficient energy and muscular discomfort, physical mobility limitations, lifting groceries, climbing stairs, and stooping. Women, but not men, with chronic pain tended to refrain from physical activity. Chronic pain is a prevalent condition and those who report chronic pain generally suffer from ill health and limitations in their daily life compared to individuals not suffering from the condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-70
Number of pages12
JournalScandinavian Journal of Rheumatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by grants from the Association of Icelandic Physical Therapists and from the Lifelong Learning Centre in Southern Iceland. We thank the Public Health Institute for providing access to the data from the health survey.


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