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A cross-sectional study of factors associated with the number of anatomical pain sites in an actual elderly general population: results from the PainS65+ cohort

Authors Dragioti E, Larsson B, Bernfort L, Levin LÅ, Gerdle B

Received 1 June 2017

Accepted for publication 25 July 2017

Published 23 August 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 2009—2019


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Katherine Hanlon

Elena Dragioti,1 Britt Larsson,1 Lars Bernfort,2 Lars-Åke Levin,2 Björn Gerdle1

1Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Pain and Rehabilitation Centre, 2Division of Health Care Analysis, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

Background: Several studies have illustrated that multisite pain is more frequent than single pain site, and it is associated with an array of negative consequences. However, there is limited knowledge available about the potential factors associated with multisite pain in the elderly general population.
Objective: This cross-sectional study examines whether the number of anatomical pain sites (APSs) is related to sociodemographic and health-related factors in older adults including oldest-old ages using a new method (APSs) to assess the location of pain on the body.
Materials and methods: The sample came from the PainS65+ cohort, which included 6,611 older individuals (mean age = 76.0 years; standard deviation [SD] = 7.4) residing in southeastern Sweden. All the participants completed and returned a postal survey that measured sociodemographic data, total annual income, pain intensity and frequency, general well-being, and quality of life. The number of pain sites (NPS) was marked on a body manikin of 45 sections, and a total of 23 APSs were then calculated. Univariable and multivariable models of regression analysis were performed.
Results: Approximately 39% of the respondents had at least two painful sites. The results of the regression analysis showed an independent association between the APSs and the age group of 75–79 years, women, married, high pain intensity and frequency, and low well-being and quality of life, after adjustments for consumption of analgesics and comorbidities. The strongest association was observed for the higher frequency of pain.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that APSs are highly prevalent with strong relationships with various sociodemographic and health-related factors and concur well with the notion that multisite pain is a potential indicator of increased pain severity and impaired quality of life in the elderly. Our comprehensive method of calculating the number of sites could be an essential part of the clinical presentation, assessment, and treatment of multisite pain.

Keywords: pain spread, multisite pain, quality of life, well-being, elderly

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