Illness and demographic correlates of chronic pain among a community-based sample of people with multiple sclerosis
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Objective: To investigate the prevalence, nature, and correlates of pain among a community-based sample with multiple sclerosis (MS). Design: A cross-sectional survey and structured pain interview. Setting: Community. Participants: People with MS (N=219) recruited through systematic sampling from a randomly ordered MS society membership database. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Pain presence or absence, pain intensity (numeric rating scales), pain quality (McGill Pain Questionnaire), pain location(s) and extent (pain drawing), pain duration and frequency, provoking and relieving pain factors, and pain management techniques. Results: Pain was common with some 67.1% of the sample reporting pain during the 2 weeks preceding the study. Comprehensive pain assessment revealed that a substantial subset of these subjects experience chronic pain conditions characterized by moderate-to-severe pain intensity. Among those with pain, 75% reported pain in 3 or more locations, with participants reporting an average of 4.0ᱮ8 distinct pain sites. Women and people with more severe MS-related disability were significantly more likely to report both the presence of pain and greater pain intensity. In contrast, being in a married or in a de facto relationship and longer time since MS diagnosis were significantly associated with lower pain intensity. Conclusions: Given the high prevalence and nature of pain experienced by people with MS, health care providers need to approach pain with a priority similar to that given to other MS-related problems such as mobility and functional independence. Women and people with more severe MS-related disability appear to be at particular risk for significant pain problems and therefore these groups warrant particular attention, such that routine clinical assessment should trigger routine pain assessment.
Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
© 2008 Elsevier. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Neurology and Neuromuscular Diseases