Chronic Pain among Patients with Long-Term Conditions and Multimorbidity

Pavankumar Kamat


January 27, 2022


  • Chronic pain was very common across a wide range of long-term conditions (LTCs).

  • Patients with multimorbidity were likely to experience chronic pain to a greater extent.

Why This Matters

  • Findings suggest that chronic pain is a key factor for consideration in the clinical management of patients with LTCs and multimorbidity.

Study Design

  • Researchers at the Universities of Glasgow and St Andrews conducted a cross-sectional study involving 500,295 participants (age, 37 to 73 years) from the UK Biobank (2006-2010).

  • The association between the presence and extent (multiple sites) of chronic pain and the type and number of LTCs (n=45) was evaluated.

  • Funding: Versus Arthritis.

Key Results

  • Overall, 43.7% of participants reported chronic pain in ≥ one site for ≥3 months.

  • Of these, 23.0% reported chronic pain at one site, 16.3% at two to three sites, 3.0% at four to seven sites, and 1.4% reported widespread pain.

  • Overall, 69.1% of participants reported ≥ one LTCs and 36.2% reported ≥2 LTCs.

  • Chronic pain was common in patients with LTCs, such as migraine/headache, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, and mental health conditions, where pain was a primary symptom.

  • Patients with more than four LTCs vs those without had a more than three times higher likelihood of chronic pain (relative risk ratio [RRR] 3.56; 95% CI 3.44 to 3.68) and 20 times higher likelihood of widespread chronic pain (RRR 20.13; 95% CI 18.26 to 22.19).


  • Data on LTCs were self-reported.

McQueenie R, Jani BD, Siebert S, McLoone P, McCowan C, Macdonald S, Mair FS, Nicholl BI. Prevalence of chronic pain in LTCs and multimorbidity: A cross-sectional study using UK Biobank. J Comorb. 2021;11:26335565211005870. doi: 10.1177/26335565211005870. PMID: 35004337. View Abstract



Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.