Clinical characteristics of pain among five chronic overlapping pain conditions

Richard Ohrbach, Sonia Sharma, Roger B. Fillingim, Joel D. Greenspan, Jonathan D. Rosen, Gary D. Slade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To describe the pain characteristics of five index chronic overlapping pain conditions (COPCs) and to assess each COPC separately in order to determine whether the presence of comorbid COPCs is associated with bodily pain distribution, pain intensity, pain interference, and high-impact pain of the index COPC. Methods: Data were from a convenience sample of 655 US adults, of whom 388 had one or more of the five COPCs: painful temporomandibular disorders, headache, low back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and/or fibromyalgia. Data were collected using pain location checklists and self-report questions regarding pain attributes. The contributions of the COPCs to reported pain intensity and interference were assessed using multivariable regression models. Results/Conclusion: Heat maps from a pain body manikin illustrated that very little of the body was pain free within these COPCs. All pain attributes were the most severe for fibromyalgia and the least severe for irritable bowel syndrome. Within each index COPC, pain intensity, pain interference, and the proportion of participants with high-impact pain increased with each additional comorbid COPC up to four or more COPCs (including the index COPC) (P <.01).. Highimpact pain associated with an index COPC was influenced by type and number of comorbid COPCs, largely in a gradient-specific manner. J Oral Facial Pain Headache 2020.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)s29-s42ad
JournalJournal of Oral and Facial Pain and Headache
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Back pain
  • Chronic overlapping pain conditions
  • Comorbidity
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headache
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Measurement
  • Pain
  • Pain-related disability
  • TMD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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