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Pain Research and Management
Volume 11 (2006), Issue 4, Pages 225-233
Original Article

Prevalence and Determinants of Pain and Pain-Related Disability in Urban and Rural Settings in Southeastern Ontario

Dean A Tripp,1 Elizabeth G VanDenKerkhof,2 and Margo McAlister3

1Departments of Psychology, Anesthesiology & Urology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
2Nursing, Anesthesiology, and Community Health & Epidemiology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
3Department of Psychology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2006 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Canadian chronic pain prevalence estimates range from 11% to 66%, are affected by sampling and measurement bias, and largely represent urban settings.

OBJECTIVES: To estimate chronic pain prevalence and factors associated with pain in southeastern Ontario, a region with a larger rural than urban residence.

METHODS: A systematic sampling with a random start was used to contact households. A telephone-administered questionnaire using the Graded Chronic Pain Scale, with questions on health care and medication use, health status, depression and demographics, was administered to consenting adults (18 to 94 years of age; mean age 50.2±16.6 years).

RESULTS: The response rate was 49% (1067 of 2167), with 76% reporting some pain over the past six months. Low pain intensity with low pain interference prevalence was 34% (grade I), high pain intensity with low pain interference was 26% (grade II), and high pain intensity with high pain interference was 17% (grades III and IV). Of those reporting pain, 49% reported chronic pain (ie, pain for a minimum of 90 days over the past six months) representing 37% of the sample. Being female, unmarried, lower income, poorer self-reported health status and rural residence were associated with increasing pain. Once depression was considered in this pain analysis, residence was no longer significant. Lower rates of health care utilization were reported by rural residents. In those reporting the highest pain grades, poor health, greater medication and health care use, depression and more pain sites were associated with higher odds for pain-related disability.

CONCLUSION: There is an elevated prevalence of pain in this almost equally split rural/urban region. Further examination of health care utilization and depression is suggested in chronic pain prevalence research.