Describe patterns of pain reporting over a span of 24 years.
Individuals were interviewed on four occasions (1968, 1974, 1981, 1992).
Representative sample (n = 321) of the Swedish population aged 53-63 at baseline.
Self-reported pain in the chest, abdomen, and musculoskeletal system (back or hips, shoulders, hands, elbows, legs, or knees).
Less than 1% reported chest or abdominal pain on all four occasions. Whereas 21.8% of the sample reported musculoskeletal pain on all four occasions. More than half of the sample reported some kind of pain on three or four occasions. Women reported more severe and more persistent pain compared with men. There were more people who developed pain during the 24-year period than there were who became pain free. An increase in pain was equally common for chest and musculoskeletal pain, but a decrease in pain was much more common for musculoskeletal pain than chest pain.
Cross-sectional studies have shown differing age patterns in pain. This longitudinal study demonstrates different patterns for men and women and for different pain localities.