Pain in Canadian Veterans: Analysis of data from the Survey on Transition to Civilian Life
Thompson, James M.
Hopman, Wilma M.
Carley, Meg E.
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Background: Little is known about the prevalence of chronic pain among Veterans outside the United States. Objective: To describe the prevalence of chronic pain and associated sociodemographic, health behaviour, employment/income, disability, and physical and mental health factors in Canadian Veterans. Methods: The 2010 Survey on Transition to Civilian Life included a nationally representative sample of 3154 Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force Veterans released from service between 1998 and 2007. Data from a telephone survey of Veterans were linked with Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada administrative databases. Pain was defined as constant/reoccurring pain (chronic pain) and as moderate/severe pain interference with activities. Results: Forty-one percent of the population experienced constant chronic pain and 23% experienced intermittent chronic pain. Twenty-five percent reported pain interference. Needing help with tasks of daily living, back problems, arthritis, gastrointestinal conditions and age ≥30 years were independently associated with chronic pain. Needing help with tasks of daily living, back problems, arthritis, mental health conditions, age ≥30 years, gastrointestinal conditions, low social support and noncommissioned member rank were associated with pain interference. Conclusions: These findings provide evidence for agencies and those supporting the well-being of Veterans, and inform longitudinal studies to better understand the determinants and life course effects of chronic pain in military Veterans.