Pain rates in general population for the period 1991-2015 and 10-years prediction: Results from a multi-continent age-period-cohort analysis

Davide Guido, Matilde Leonardi, Blanca Mellor-Marsá, Maria V. Moneta, Albert Sanchez-Niubo, Stefanos Tyrovolas, Iago Giné-Vázquez, Josep M. Haro, Somnath Chatterji, Martin Bobak, Jose L. Ayuso-Mateos, Holger Arndt, Ilona Koupil, Jerome Bickenbach, Seppo Koskinen, Beata Tobiasz-Adamczyk, Demosthenes Panagiotakos, Alberto Raggi

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Pain is a common symptom, often associated with neurological and musculoskeletal conditions, and experienced especially by females and by older people. The aims of this study are to evaluate the temporal variations of pain rates among general populations for the period 1991-2015 and to project 10-year pain rates. Methods: We used the harmonized dataset of ATHLOS project, which included 660,028 valid observations in the period 1990-2015 and we applied Bayesian age-period-cohort modeling to perform projections up to 2025. The harmonized Pain variable covers the content "self-reported pain experienced at the time of the interview", with a dichotomous (yes or no) modality. Results: Pain rates were higher among females, older subjects, in recent periods, and among observations referred to cohorts of subjects born between the 20s and the 60s. The 10-year projections indicate a noteworthy increase in pain rates in both genders and particularly among subjects aged 66 or over, for whom a 10-20% increase in pain rate is foreseen; among females only, a 10-15% increase in pain rates is foreseen for those aged 36-50. Conclusions: Projected increase in pain rates will require specific interventions by health and welfare systems, as pain is responsible for limited quality of subjective well-being, reduced employment rates and hampered work performance. Worksite and lifestyle interventions will therefore be needed to limit the impact of projected higher pain rates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number52
JournalJournal of Headache and Pain
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Bayesian age period cohort model
  • Employment
  • Headache disorders
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Pain
  • Projection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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