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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910


DELLAROZA, Mara Solange Gomes; PIMENTA, Cibele Andrucioli de Mattos; LEBRAO, Maria Lúcia  and  DUARTE, Yeda Aparecida. Association of chronic pain with the use of health care services by older adults in Sao Paulo. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2013, vol.47, n.5, pp.914-922. ISSN 0034-8910.


Evaluate the association between use of health care services by older adults with chronic pain and sociodemographic and health variables.


Cross-sectional study whose population sample of 1,271 older adults with chronic pain and with no cognitive deficit was obtained through home surveys in Sao Paulo, SP, Southeastern Brazil,, in 2006. The study considered pain lasting for six or more months as chronic. The criterion for health care service use was more than four doctor appointments or having been admitted to a hospital during the past year. For those in chronic pain for at least one year, the existence of an association between the use of health care services and independent variables (pain and socio-demographical characteristics and self-reported morbidities) was tested using univariate (RaoScott test of association) and multivariate analysis (Cox Multiple Regression with robust variance). Stata 11.0 was used for the statistical analysis, and the significance level adopted was p < 0.05.


The prevalence of health care service use among older people with pain was 48,0% (95%CI 35.1;52.8) and did not differ from older adults without chronic pain (50.5%, 95%CI 45.1;55.9). The multivariate analysis showed that the chance of using health care services was 33,0% lower for older adults with pain for more than two years than those with pain between one and two years (p = 0.002). The chance was 55,0% higher for those with intense pain (p = 0.003) and 45,0% higher for those with moderate pain interference in the work (p = 0.015).


Chronic pain was found to be common and was associated with negative effects on independence and mobility. More intense and recent chronic pain that affected work resulted in greater use of health care services.

Keywords : Aged; Chronic Pain, epidemiology; Health Services, utilization; Cross-Sectional Studies; Study SABE.

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