OBJECTIVES: The objective was to study the nature and magnitude of the impact of pain on the quality of life of patients with
DESIGN: This was a descriptive, cross-sectional quantitative study.
SETTING AND SUBJECTS: One thousand and sixty-six adult patients were screened between October and December 2010 in
four primary healthcare clinics in south-west Tshwane.
OUTCOME MEASURES: Patients reporting persistent pain for six months or longer were considered to be chronic pain patients
(437, 41%), and were interviewed with regard to the impact of chronic pain on their quality of life using the Wisconsin Brief
RESULTS: Four hundred and nineteen patients (95.9%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 93.6-97.6) of chronic pain patients
reported that chronic pain impacted on their quality of life and functioning. Sixty-eight per cent of patients (95% CI: 63.3-
72.4) reported being severely adversely affected by chronic pain. Pain had a severe impact on sleep quality in 39.2% patients,
walking ability (37.4%), routine housework (33.8%), mood (20.1%), interpersonal relationships (15.3%) and enjoyment of life
(16.3%). The more intense the experience of severe pain was, the greater the impact of chronic pain on everyday life (p-value
< 0.001). Equally, patients with better pain relief enjoyed a better quality of life (p-value < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: A substantial proportion of patients attending primary healthcare clinics experience chronic pain which impacts
on their lives in multiple and significant ways.