Development of Chronic Pain Highly Dependent on Pain History

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The development of and recovery from chronic pain was found to be highly dependent on a patient's previous history of pain.

The development of and recovery from chronic pain was found to be highly dependent on a patient’s previous history of pain in a study published in the European Journal of Pain.

The study included a random sample of participants from a population-based study (HUNT 3; n=4782). Each participant answered postal questionnaires every 3 months for 1 year, and then 1 annual questionnaire for the following 3 years. A total of 3405 participants completed the study.

Among participants who did not have chronic pain at baseline, the probability of developing moderate to severe chronic pain during the first year was 5%.

This pain status was maintained in 38.0% of those participants at the second follow-up. Participants who maintained a status of no chronic pain over the course of several years had a significantly decreased probability of developing chronic pain.

Participants who had moderate to severe chronic pain at baseline had an 8% probability of recovery, and this probability significantly decreased for participants who had chronic pain for several years.

Pain severity, widespread pain, pain catastrophizing, depression, and sleep were all significant predictors of future moderate to severe pain, regardless of participants’ chronic pain status at baseline.

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Landmark T, Dale O, Romundstad P, et al. Development and course of chronic pain over four years in the general population: the HUNT pain study [published online May 13, 2018]. Eur J Pain. doi: 10.1002/ejp.1243.