In this issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Pain, Landmark et al. analyse associations between chronic pain and both objective and subjective measures of functioning . Most profoundly the study reports that nearly half the work disability cases can be attributed to chronic pain.1Defining chronic painAs the authors point out, there is currently no consensus definition of chronic pain in epidemiology. Though there appears to be some convergence on three or six months as a cutoff between acute and chronic pain, shorter durations have also been applied . The use of additional criteria such as pain intensity or pain impact varies, as do the scales used to measure these dimensions. In many studies pain is confounded with discomfort, as is the case with the Rome III criteria for irritable bowel syndrome . Taken together one is hard put to find two epidemiological studies that use the exact same definition of chronic pain, making comparisons between studies problematic to say the least.Inconsistent definitions are most likely the major cause of the huge variation in prevalence estimates, ranging from 11 to 64 percent among adults [4,5]. Lack of comparability means that there is currently little or no grounds for concluding whether
Scandinavian Journal of Pain – de Gruyter
Published: Oct 1, 2013
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