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Pain Research and Management
Volume 2016, Article ID 9815750, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/9815750
Research Article

An Epidemiological Study of Neuropathic Pain Symptoms in Canadian Adults

1School of Nursing and Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6
2School of Nursing, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6
3Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, University of Dundee, Dundee DD2 4DB, UK
4Population Health Sciences, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, University of Dundee, Dundee DD2 4DB, UK
5Department of Public Health Sciences, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6
6Departments of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine and Biomedical & Molecular Sciences, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6

Received 6 May 2015; Accepted 14 August 2015

Copyright © 2016 Elizabeth G. VanDenKerkhof et al. 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.

Abstract

The reported prevalence of neuropathic pain ranges from 6.9% to 10%; however the only Canadian study reported 17.9%. The objective of this study was to describe the epidemiology of neuropathic pain in Canada. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in a random sample of Canadian adults. The response rate was 21.1% (1504/7134). Likely or possible neuropathic pain was defined using a neuropathic pain-related diagnosis and a positive outcome on the Self-Report Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs pain scale (S-LANSS) or the Douleur Neuropathique 4 (DN4) Questions. The prevalence of likely neuropathic pain was 1.9% (S-LANSS) and 3.4% (DN4) and that of possible neuropathic pain was 5.8% (S-LANSS) and 8.1% (DN4). Neuropathic pain was highest in economically disadvantaged males. There is a significant burden of neuropathic pain in Canada. The low response rate and a slightly older and less educated sample than the Canadian population may have led to an overestimate of neuropathic pain. Population prevalence varies by screening tool used, indicating more work is needed to develop reliable measures. Population level screening targeted towards high risk groups should improve the sensitivity and specificity of screening, while clinical examination of those with positive screening results will further refine the estimate of prevalence.