Context Chronic pain is common in Western societies. Self-rated health is an
important indicator of morbidity and mortality, but little is known about
the relation between chronic pain and self-rated health in the general population.
Objective To analyze the association between chronic pain and self-rated health.
Design, Setting, and Population A questionnaire survey carried out during the spring of 2002 of an age-
and sex-stratified population sample of 6500 individuals in Finland aged 15
to 74 years, with a response rate of 71% (N = 4542) after exclusion of those
with unobtainable data (n = 38). Chronic pain was defined as pain with a duration
of at least 3 months and was graded by frequency: (1) at most once a week;
(2) several times a week; and (3) daily or continuously. On the basis of a
5-item questionnaire on self-rated health, individuals were classified as
having good, moderate, or poor health. Multinominal logistic regression analysis
was used to assess the determinants of health. Analysis included sex, age,
education, working status, chronic diseases, and mood.
Main Outcome Measures Perceived chronic pain graded by frequency and self-rated health status.
Results The prevalence of any chronic pain was 35.1%; that of daily chronic
pain, 14.3%. The prevalence of moderate self-rated health was 26.6% and of
poor health, 7.6%. For moderate self-rated health among individuals having
chronic pain at most once a week compared with individuals having no chronic
pain, the adjusted odds were 1.36 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05-1.76);
several times a week, 2.41 (95% CI, 1.94-3.00); and daily, 3.69 (95% CI, 2.97-4.59).
Odds for poor self-rated health were as follows: having chronic pain at most
once a week, 1.16 (95% CI, 0.65-2.07); several times a week, 2.62 (95% CI,
1.76-3.90); and daily, 11.82 (95% CI, 8.67-16.10).
Conclusion Chronic pain is independently related to low self-rated health in the