Nearly 30 per cent experience chronic back pain

Why is chronic pain so prevalent?

The third Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT 3) was completed in June 2008 and involved 48 289 people, or about 52 per cent of the population of Nord-Trøndelag County. As researchers sift through the reams of data collected for the study, they have been stunned to find that nearly 30 per cent of respondents said they struggled with chronic pain. Researchers were so puzzled by these findings that they have started a follow-up study. First, a random sample of individuals from two towns in the study area were asked the same questions about pain eight times over four years, to ensure that the initial findings were correct.

Professor Petter C. Borchgrevink, an adjunct professor in NTNU’s Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging and a researcher at the Pain Care Unit at St. Olavs Hospital, says that the reports turned out to be accurate. The findings are now being followed up in a project where 525 participants will be physically examined. Four doctors, four physiotherapists and four psychologists will spend two hours on each participant to find out what lies at the root of so many reports of chronic pain, Borchgrevink says.