To inform case definition for neck/shoulder pain in epidemiological research, we compared levels of disability, patterns of association, and prognosis for pain that was limited to the neck or shoulders (LNSP) and more generalised musculoskeletal pain that involved the neck or shoulder(s) (GPNS). Baseline data on musculoskeletal pain, disability, and potential correlates were collected by questionnaire from 12,195 workers in 47 occupational groups (mostly office workers, nurses, and manual workers) in 18 countries (response rate = 70%). Continuing pain after a mean interval of 14 months was ascertained through a follow-up questionnaire in 9150 workers from 45 occupational groups. Associations with personal and occupational factors were assessed by Poisson regression and summarised by prevalence rate ratios (PRRs). The 1-month prevalence of GPNS at baseline was much greater than that of LNSP (35.1% vs 5.6%), and it tended to be more troublesome and disabling. Unlike LNSP, the prevalence of GPNS increased with age. Moreover, it showed significantly stronger associations with somatising tendency (PRR 1.6 vs 1.3) and poor mental health (PRR 1.3 vs 1.1); greater variation between the occupational groups studied (prevalence ranging from 0% to 67.6%) that correlated poorly with the variation in LNSP; and was more persistent at follow-up (72.1% vs 61.7%). Our findings highlight important epidemiological distinctions between subcategories of neck/shoulder pain. In future epidemiological research that bases case definitions on symptoms, it would be useful to distinguish pain that is localised to the neck or shoulder from more generalised pain that happens to involve the neck/shoulder region.
Patient ratings of satisfaction with their postoperative pain treatment tend to be high even in those with substantial pain. Determinants are poorly understood and have not previously been studied in large-scale, international datasets. PAIN OUT, a European Union-funded acute pain registry and research project, collects patient-reported outcome data on postoperative day 1 using the self-reported International Pain Outcome Questionnaire (IPO), and patient, clinical, and treatment characteristics. We investigated correlates of satisfaction and consistency of effects across centres and countries using multilevel regression modelling. Our sample comprised 16,868 patients (median age 55 years; 55% female) from 42 centres in 11 European countries plus Israel, USA, and Malaysia, who underwent a wide range of surgical procedures, for example, joint, limb, and digestive tract surgeries. Median satisfaction was 9 (interquartile range 7-10) on a 0-10 scale. Three IPO items showed strong associations and explained 35% of the variability present in the satisfaction variable: more pain relief received, higher allowed participation in pain treatment decisions, and no desire to have received more pain treatment. Patient factors and additional IPO items reflecting pain experience (eg, worst pain intensity), pain-related impairment, and information on pain treatment added little explanatory value, partially due to covariate correlations. Effects were highly consistent across centres and countries. We conclude that satisfaction with postoperative pain treatment is associated with the patients' actual pain experience, but more strongly with impressions of improvement and appropriateness of care. To the degree they desire, patients should be provided with information and involved in pain treatment decisions.
To explore definitions for multisite pain, and compare associations with risk factors for different patterns of musculoskeletal pain, we analysed cross-sectional data from the Cultural and Psychosocial Influences on Disability (CUPID) study. The study sample comprised 12,410 adults aged 20-59 years from 47 occupational groups in 18 countries. A standardised questionnaire was used to collect information about pain in the past month at each of 10 anatomical sites, and about potential risk factors. Associations with pain outcomes were assessed by Poisson regression, and characterised by prevalence rate ratios (PRRs). Extensive pain, affecting 6-10 anatomical sites, was reported much more frequently than would be expected if the occurrence of pain at each site were independent (674 participants vs 41.9 expected). In comparison with pain involving only 1-3 sites, it showed much stronger associations (relative to no pain) with risk factors such as female sex (PRR 1.6 vs 1.1), older age (PRR 2.6 vs 1.1), somatising tendency (PRR 4.6 vs 1.3), and exposure to multiple physically stressing occupational activities (PRR 5.0 vs 1.4). After adjustment for number of sites with pain, these risk factors showed no additional association with a distribution of pain that was widespread according to the frequently used American College of Rheumatology criteria. Our analysis supports the classification of pain at multiple anatomical sites simply by the number of sites affected, and suggests that extensive pain differs importantly in its associations with risk factors from pain that is limited to only a small number of anatomical sites.