Background: The previous epidemiological surveys conducted in Japan revealed that once the vicious cycle of chronic musculoskeletal pain begins, it is difficult to disrupt the cycle. This finding suggests the existence of problems with the conventional approaches to treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain. The purpose of this study was to investigate the characteristics of patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain focusing on neuropathic and psychogenic pain. Methods: The questionnaire was sent again to the 660 subjects found to have persistent chronic pain in the epidemiological surveys conducted in 2011. Responses were collected from 588 subjects (response rate 90 %). Results: Of the 588 responders, 365 (62 %) complained of persistent chronic pain. Among them, 128 (35 %) were still receiving treatment and 193 (53 %) had discontinued treatment. The degree of satisfaction with the treatment was low, and 66 % of the patients had switched the medical facility that they visited to receive treatment. The cited reasons for the change in the medical facility visited and discontinuation of treatment were "treatment was ineffective," "I did not have sufficient time," "I thought I could take care of it myself," and "Treatment seemed to be unnecessary". Involvement of neuropathic pain was suggested in 20 % of all the patients with chronic pain. As the PainDETECT Score rose, the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) score became higher and the change of medical facility for treatment also increased. The Pain Catastrophizing Scale score was correlated positively with the VAS score. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale score was significantly correlated with the VAS score and the duration of pain. Discussion: The results of this survey indicated that the chronic course of musculoskeletal pain may be attributable to the following factors: (1) lack of appropriate treatment of neuropathic pain and psychogenic pain, and (2) insufficient awareness/knowledge among patients about chronic musculoskeletal pain.
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