Acta Medica Colombiana
Print version ISSN 0120-2448
DIAZ CABEZAS, Ricardo; MARULANDA MEJIA, Felipe and SAENZ, Ximena. Epidemiological study of chronic pain in Caldas, Colombia (Dolca Study). Acta Med Colomb [online]. 2009, vol.34, n.3, pp. 96-102. ISSN 0120-2448.
Introduction: pain is the most common symptom in medical consultation, and a major public health problem. In Colombia, there is still a lack of reliable data on the impact of pain on the general population. Aim: to estimate the prevalence and clinical aspects and management of chronic pain in the general population in a representative sample of the department of Caldas, Colombia. Subjects and methods: 1.008 people older than 18 years, of both genders, were surveyed in homes of randomly selected districts in the cities of Manizales, Neira, Villamaríaa, and Chinchiná, using a semistructured questionnaire through interview at home. The information was processed with the statistical package Epiinfo. Results: the prevalence of pain during the last month was 50%, and chronic pain (more than 3 months) 31%, with a predominance of women in most causes of pain and with increased frequency in older age. The duration of chronic pain was more than 1 year in 62% of cases and over 5 years in 30%. The most frequent localizations were in order: head, legs, lower back, upper limbs and abdomen. Daily activities (ADL) were partially limited in 62% of cases and totally in 13%. Pain affected mood in one half of the subjects. NSAIDs were used in 59%, acetaminophen in 53%, while only 3% used opioids. Self-prescription was reported by 41% and use of complementary medicine in 33%. Conclusions: the study highlights the high prevalence of chronic pain, its chronic nature, the low use of opioids and the high consumption of NSAIDs, as well as the habit of self-prescription, which results in inadequate management of chronic diseases.
Keywords : analgesics in chronic pain; selfmedication; chronic pain; pain en Latin America; epidemiology of pain; frequency of chronic pain.