Background. Neuropathic pain is widely recognized as one of the most difficult pain syndromes to treat and presents a significant challenge for pain clinicians and GPs.
Methods. The Self-complete Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs (S-LANSS) questionnaire, recently validated for identifying pain of predominantly neuropathic origin (POPNO), was sent to 6000 adults identified from general practices in the UK. The questionnaire also contained items about chronic pain identification, medications and treatments received for pain and the pain relief these provided.
Results. In total, 1420/3002 (48%) of respondents indicated that they suffered
with any chronic pain. These were further categorized as those with chronic pain who were S-LANSS negative ['chronic pain (non-POPNO)' group, n = 1179] and those with chronic pain who were S-LANSS positive, indicating the presence of POPNO ('chronic POPNO' group, n = 241). Questions relating to treatments and medications were completed by 88% of the respondents (1244/1420). The chronic POPNO group was more likely to receive multiple pain medications (37% versus 21% took two or more pain medications, P < 0.001) and stronger painkillers [e.g. opioids odds ratio 1.94; 95% confidence interval 1.10, 3.42]. Despite this, they reported less effective pain relief than the non-POPNO chronic pain group.
Conclusion. Patients in primary care reporting chronic pain were found generally to obtain incomplete relief from their medication with chronic POPNO patients reporting less relief. It is important that patients with any chronic pain are identified and managed appropriately according to their distinct treatment needs.
- Chronic pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Primary care