Epidemiology of Chronic Pain

  • Sarah Elizabeth Ellen Mills
  • Oliver van Hecke
  • Blair H. SmithEmail author


Chronic pain is a complex, distressing and common problem which has a large impact on individuals and society. It frequently presents as a result of disease or injury; however, it is not merely an accompanying symptom but is a separate condition in its own right, with its own medical definition and taxonomy. The epidemiology of chronic pain examines the distribution and determinants of chronic pain in a specified population, with the aim of understanding and managing health problems. Risk factors for chronic pain include sociodemographic, clinical, psychological and biological factors. Understanding these risk factors will allow for targeted appropriate prevention and management strategies that take into account biological, psychological, sociodemographic and lifestyle determinants and outcomes of pain. Addressing risk factors for chronic pain at both individual and population levels is vital to address the worldwide disease burden of chronic pain. Facilitating lifestyle change to address modifiable risk factors for chronic pain is important in preventing and treating people with chronic pain.


Chronic pain Epidemiology Prevalence Incidence Risk factors Genetics 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Elizabeth Ellen Mills
    • 1
  • Oliver van Hecke
    • 2
  • Blair H. Smith
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Population Health SciencesUniversity of DundeeDundeeUK
  2. 2.University of OxfordNuffield Department of Primary Care Health SciencesOxfordUK
  3. 3.University of DundeeDundeeUK
  4. 4.Consultant in Pain Medicine, NHS Tayside, Lead Clinician for Chronic Pain, Scottish GovernmentDundeeUK

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