A Systematic Review of the Prevalence and Measurement of Chronic Pain in Asian Adults

Pain Manag Nurs 2015; 16: 440-52


Mohamed Zaki LR, Hairi NN


There are limited epidemiologic studies on chronic pain in Asian populations. The aim of this review was to gather all epidemiologic studies of chronic pain in Asian countries and systematically describe the measurement and prevalence of chronic pain in Asian adults. A systematic review was performed using PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Psych INFO, Cochrane Database for Systematic Review, and CINAHL. Additional studies were identified manually by searching bibliographies. We identified 19 relevant articles for this review. Most articles used the definition of chronic pain set by the International Association for the Study of Pain. The majority of the articles used simple single-question methods to measure chronic pain. The prevalence of chronic pain among Asian adults ranges from 7.1% (Malaysia) to 61% (Cambodia and Northern Iraq), whereas among the Asian geriatric population, the prevalence is even higher and ranges from 42% to 90.8%. This review showed that there is great variation in the reported prevalence of chronic pain in Asian adults and the prevalence of chronic pain is high among the Asian geriatric population. To measure the distribution of chronic pain in adults, a uniform measurement strategy should be adopted.


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