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Table 1 Prevalence of chronic pain in epidemiological studies among adults in selected studies in Europe

From: The individual and societal burden of chronic pain in Europe: the case for strategic prioritisation and action to improve knowledge and availability of appropriate care

Country and survey year Europe and Israel, 20031[1] Denmark, 2010 [13] Iceland, 2003 [15] Ireland, 2008 [12] Norway, 2006–2008 [14] Portugal, 2007–8 [11]
Survey method Telephone Postal or online Postal Postal Postal Telephone
Sample source and size Telephone directories (n = 46,394) National Danish Health Survey (n = 14,925) National registry of general population (n = 599) 33 general practices (n = 1204) Total regional adult population (n = 4782) Telephone directories (n = 5094)
Chronic pain definition2 ≥6 months duration, moderate or severe, and pain experienced in the last month and at least twice a week ≥6 months duration >3 months duration >3 months duration Moderate to severe pain (SF-8) in at least three of five consecutive 3-monthly measurements ≥3 months duration
Prevalence of chronic pain (95% CI) All: 19% (ND) All: 26.8% (26.1–27.5%) All: 30.6% (ND) Non-cancer: 35.5% (32.8–38.2%) 31% (30–33%) All: 36.7% (35.3–38.2%)
(12% in Spain to 30% in Norway) Non-cancer: 24.7% (ND)
Prevalence higher in Women, older age Women, older age, various co-morbidities, non-Western background,3 underweight or obese ND Older age, manual workers, unemployed Women, older age, lower educational level, lower household income, higher BMI Women, older age retired, unemployed, lower educational level
  1. BMI, body mass index; CI, confidence intervals; ND, no data; SF-8, Short-Form 8 health survey.
  2. 1Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
  3. 2The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines chronic pain as that lasting more than 3 months [16].
  4. 3As determined by the birthplace and citizenship of the respondent and the parental birthplace.