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Volume 24 , Issue 2
Spring 2010

Pages 181188

Investigation of Factors Associated with Treatment-Seeking in Southern Chinese with Orofacial Pain

Jun Zheng, BDS/Anne S. McMillan, BDS, PhD, FDSCPS, FDSRCS, FHKAM (Prosthodontics)/May C.M. Wong, BSocSci, MPhil, PhD/Yan Luo, BDS, MS, PhD/ Cindy L.K. Lam, MBBS, MD, FRCGP

PMID: 20401356

Aims: To investigate key factors associated with treatment-seeking for orofacial pain symptoms in community-dwelling adult Chinese people in Hong Kong. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using a Hong Kong Hospital Authority Family Medicine Clinic as the sampling frame. People aged 35 to 70 years with recent orofacial pain symptoms participated. Standard questions were asked about orofacial pain symptoms and characteristics in the previous month, Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14), General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12), Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (RDC/TMD) depression/nonspecific physical symptoms (NPS) scales, sleep and illness behavior measures, and questions on pain disability, professional treatment-seeking, pain medication usage, and dental attendance were administered prior to a standard clinical assessment. Multiple logistic regression with a forward stepwise selection method was used for data analysis. Results: Two hundred people with orofacial pain symptoms participated in the definitive study. Twenty-seven percent had sought professional advice. The majority had consulted a medical practitioner (66.7%) or dentist (40.7%), 16.7% had consulted a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner, and the majority (60%) had taken pain medication. There was no significant association between different orofacial pain diagnoses and professional treatment-seeking (P = .602). Four independent factors were significantly related to an increased likelihood of treatment-seeking (P < .05): more frequent dental attendance for check-up (odds ratio [OR] > 3), time when pain was experienced during the past month (days) (OR > 5), multiple pain symptoms (OR = 4.99), and use of TCM when ill (OR = 3.31). Conclusion: Professional treatment-seeking for orofacial pain was low in this ethnic group. The strongest predictor of treatment-seeking for orofacial pain was an increase in the number of days when pain was experienced during the past month. Key factors associated with treatment-seeking should be considered when formulating community health outreach programs. A further validation study with a larger sample size is recommended to confirm the present findings. J Orofac Pain 2010;24:181188

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