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Volume 25 , Issue 1
Winter 2011

Pages 25–31

Racial/Ethnic and Gender Prevalences in Reported Common Pains in a National Sample

Octavia Plesh, DDS, MS/Sally H. Adams, RN, PhD/Stuart A. Gansky, MS, DrPH

PMID: 21359234

An earlier version of this research was presented at the 87th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, Miami, Florida, April 1, 2009.

Aims: To compare prevalences of self-reported temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJMD)-type pain, headaches, and neck and back pains in the 2000 to 2005 US National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) by gender and age for non-Hispanic Whites (Whites), Hispanics, and non-Hispanic Blacks (Blacks). Methods: Data from the 2000 to 2005 NHIS included information on gender, age, race, ethnicity, and different common types of pain specifically: TMJMD-type pain, severe headaches/migraine, neck, and low back pains. Results: A total of 189,992 people were included: 52% female and 48% male, 73% White, 12% Hispanic, 11% Black, and 4% “Other.” The overall prevalence of TMJMD-type pain was 4.6%; severe headaches/migraine was 15.4%; neck, 14.9%; and low back, 28.0%. Survey logistic regression models estimating race-specific, age-adjusted curves revealed race by age pain differences. For TMJMD-type pain, White females presented the highest prevalence at younger ages, decreasing after age 40. Prevalences for Hispanic and Black females, although lower at younger ages, increased up to age 60 and remained higher than Whites. Males showed less racial/ethnic and age variation. Severe headaches/migraines presented an age pattern similar to TMJMD-type pain for White females and little overall variation for males, but without racial differences. Neck pain showed some similarities to TMJMD-type pain: higher in Whites at younger ages, lower at older ages, with Hispanics having the highest rates after their 60’s. For low back pain, the rates peaked around the sixth decade for all racial/ethnic groups. Conclusion: The patterns of TMJMD-type pain varied greatly within and across racial/ethnic groups by gender and across the adult lifespan. Similarities and differences for the other pains were noted. J OROFAC PAIN 2011;25:25–31

Key words: age, back pain, gender, migraine/headache, neck pain, pain, prevalence, race/ethnicity, sample survey, self-report, temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders

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