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Volume 22 , Issue 4
Fall 2008

Pages 323330

Chronic Orofacial Pain in Southern Chinese People: Experience, Associated Disability, and Help-Seeking Response

Wing S. Leung, BDS/Anne S. McMillan, BDS, PhD, FDSRCPS, FDSRCS/May C. M. Wong, BSocSci, MPhil, PhD

PMID: 19090405

Aims: To investigate chronic orofacial pain experience, psychosocial impact, and help-seeking response in adult Chinese people in Hong Kong. Methods: A cross-sectional population-based telephone interview survey identified 1,352 randomly selected people aged ≥ 18 years. Standard questions were asked about current or episodic and prior (≥ 6 months) experience of 7 orofacial pain symptoms. Pain intensity and psychosocial impact were assessed through the Graded Chronic Pain Scale, and the help-seeking response was assessed using the 4-item Level of Expressed Need (LEN) measure. Results: Current or episodic symptoms of orofacial pain were reported by 57.0% of respondents, and 13.2% of this group reported symptoms that had lasted for ≥ 6 months (chronic subgroup). In the chronic subgroup, toothache was the most common symptom (42.2%) and oral sores the least common (7.8%). The mean pain intensity in the chronic pain subgroup was 46.6 (SD 21.7) with no age or gender differences (P > .05); 88.2% had low disability levels and 11.8% had high levels. 81.4% had low LEN scores and 18.6% had high scores, with no age/gender differences (P > .05). Conclusion: The prevalence of current/ episodic orofacial pain was relatively high, whereas chronic orofacial pain was much less common. Although the intensity of chronic orofacial pain was significant, associated psychosocial disability was low, as was the level of perceived need for treatment. These findings may be related to more effective pain-coping strategies and greater acceptance of pain in this ethnic group compared to other ethnic groups. J Orofac Pain 2008;22:323330

Key words: Chinese, chronic pain, orofacial, prevalence, psychosocial, treatment-seeking

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