People With Chronic Pain May Die Earlier

Why People With Chronic Pain May Die EarlierKorin Miller – June 8, 2017

More than one in 10 Americans, or 25.3 million adults, suffer from pain every day, according to NIH data released in 2015.

Chronic pain seems to be just that—a serious pain—but new research has found that ongoing pain is associated with an increased risk of dying early.

For the analysis, which was published in Arthritis Care & Research, researchers looked at data from two large population cohorts of 50-year-olds.

They discovered that people who reported suffering from chronic pain had a nearly 30 percent increased risk of dying during the study.

It got worse as the pain became more intense:

People who said they had “quite a bit” of pain were 38 percent likely to die during the study, while those who were in “extreme” pain regularly had an 88 percent increased risk. 

Below is the publicly available abstract of the study:

Pain and mortality in older adults: The influence of pain phenotype – June 7, 2017


Moderate to severe chronic pain affects one in five adults.

Pain may increase the risk of mortality but the relationship is unclear.

This study investigated whether mortality risk was influenced by pain phenotype, characterised by pain extent or pain impact on daily life.


The study population was drawn from two large population cohorts of adults aged ≥50 years; the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) (n=6324) and the North Staffordshire Osteoarthritis Project (NorStOP) (n=10985).

Survival analyses (Cox’s proportional hazard models) estimated the risk of mortality in participants reporting “any pain” and then separately according to the extent of pain:

  • total number of pain sites;
  • widespread pain according to American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria;
  • widespread pain according to Manchester criteria) and
  • pain impact on daily life (pain interference; and often troubled with pain).

Models were cumulatively adjusted for age, sex, education and wealth/adequacy of income.


After adjustments, the report of any pain (MRR 1.06, 95% CI (0.95, 1.19)) or having widespread pain (ACR 1.07 (0.92, 1.23) or Manchester 1.16 (0.99, 1.36)) was not associated with an increased risk of mortality.

Participants who were often troubled with pain (1.29 (1.12, 1.49)) and those that reported “quite a bit” (1.38 (1.20,1.59)) and “extreme” (1.88 (1.54, 2.29)) pain interference had an increased risk of all-cause mortality.


Pain that interferes with daily life, rather than pain per se was associated with an increased risk of mortality.

Future studies should investigate the mechanisms through which pain increases mortality risk. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.



2 thoughts on “People With Chronic Pain May Die Earlier

  1. leejcaroll

    I always assumed there was an association between mortality and cp if only because of the physical and emotional stress on the body and brain


  2. Pingback: Recommended by Red: Bodily Damage from Uncontrolled Chronic Pain - Face Facts

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