Pain prevalence and risk distribution among inpatients in a German teaching hospital.

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Pain prevalence and risk distribution among inpatients in a German teaching hospital.

Clin J Pain. 2009 Jun;25(5):431-7

Authors: Gerbershagen K, Gerbershagen HJ, Lutz J, Cooper-Mahkorn D, Wappler F, Limmroth V, Gerbershagen M

OBJECTIVES: This study was designed to provide a cross-sectional analysis of pain prevalence, chronicity, and severity as well as the impact of pain on psychological and social variables in inpatients in various departments of a German teaching hospital. METHODS: Patients were asked to complete a questionnaire including sections on sociodemographic and socioeconomic data, pain variables, recent and past health care utilization, and screening questionnaires for depression, anxiety, and health-related quality of life. RESULTS: Of the 438 patients, 386 (88.1%) had experienced pain in the past 12 months; 367 (83.8%) reported having pain in the previous 3 months. Sixty-four percent of the pain patients stated that pain was the main reason for hospital admission; 48% reported having three or more pain sites. The most common location of pain was the back (26.9%). Pain patients showed significantly higher depression and anxiety scores and markedly reduced physical health when compared to non-pain patients. DISCUSSION: The results of this study indicate that in most medical disciplines pain is more than merely a symptom of disease. In many instances pain should be considered a serious comorbidity that can influence the outcome of medical and surgical treatment. Recent research has shown that prevention of the pain chronification process is the most promising strategy for avoiding the development of intractable pain. Acceptance, recognition, and assessment of pain as a risk factor at an early stage are essential factors. A first step might involve routine screening for pain on admission to any hospital facility, and subsequently evaluating the impact of pain on biopsychosocial functions.

PMID: 19454878 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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