Health care utilization in chronic pain: A population based study

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To investigate health care utilization in relation to chronic pain.

In this cross-sectional study postal questionnaires, measuring sociodemographic characteristics, pain, health related quality of life (HRQoL), attitudes to pain and health care utilization past six months, were sent to 4500 individuals aged 20–70 years, randomly drawn from the Icelandic National Registry.

Total response rate was 36.9% (n = 1589) and was higher among older individuals and women. Nearly one half of respondents (47.5%, n = 754) reported chronic pain (≥3 months) with mean duration of 9.3 years (median = 6.0 years, SD = 10.0) and 57.5% of them had consulted health care service for their pain past six months. Use of pain related health care was significantly related to attitudes towards pain and individuals with pain in chest, upper extremities, hips and lower extremities consulted health care for their pain significantly more often than people with other pain locations. Pain related health care utilization was not significantly related to sociodemographic characteristics. There was a significant difference in both Physical (PCS) and Mental (MCS) component HRQoL scales as well as nature of pain (severity, interference, spread and pattern), between individuals who had consulted health care for their pain and those who had not. However, when these relationships were tested by using logistic regression models, only PCS and pain interference remained significant in this relationship.

Chronic pain related health care utilization is related to several pain characteristics and its influence on daily life, where interference and physical components of HRQoL are most important.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255
Number of pages1
JournalScandinavian Journal of Pain
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013

Other keywords

  • Chronic pain
  • Health care
  • Quality of life

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