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Viniol, Annika; Jegan, Nikita; Leonhardt, Corinna; Brugger, Markus; Strauch, Konstantin; Barth, Juergen; Baum, Erika und Becker, Annette: Differences between patients with chronic widespread pain and local chronic low back pain in primary care - a comparative cross-sectional analysis. In: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2013, 14:351


Background: Chronic pain is a common reason for consultation in general practice. Current research distinguishes between chronic localized pain (CLP) and chronic widespread pain (CWP). The aim of this study was to identify differences between CWP and chronic low back pain (CLBP), a common type of CLP, in primary care settings. Methods: Fifty-eight German general practitioners (GPs) consecutively recruited all eligible patients who consulted for chronic low back pain during a 5 month period. All patients received a questionnaire on sociodemographic data, pain characteristics, comorbidities, psychosomatic symptoms, and previous therapies. Results: GPs recruited 647 eligible patients where of a quarter (n = 163, 25.2\%) met the CWP criteria according to the American College of Rheumatology. CWP patients had significantly more comorbidities and psychosomatic symptoms, showed longer pain duration, and suffered predominantly from permanent pain instead of distinguishable pain attacks. CWP patients were more often females, are less working and reported a current pension application or a state-approved grade of disability more frequently. We found no other differences in demographic parameters such as age, nationality, marital status, number of persons in household, education, health insurance status, or in health care utilization data. Conclusions: This project is the largest study performed to date which analyzes differences between CLBP and CWP in primary care settings. Our results showed that CWP is a frequent and particularly severe pain syndrome.