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The Functional Barometer — An analysis of a self-assessment questionnaire with ICF-coding regarding functional/activity limitations and quality of life due to pain — Differences in age gender and origin of pain

Jan-Rickard Norrefalk and Kristian Borg


Long standing non-malignant pain leads to a variety of limitations which can be assessed by means of the self-assessment questionnaire Functional Barometer. It is designed to assess the extent and limitations in function, activity and decreased quality-of-life and is adapted to the International Classification of Functioning and Health.


To investigate the outcome and differences in age, gender and origin of pain in patients with longstanding non-malignant pain regarding the subjective experience of functional-, activity- and quality-of-life limitations.


300 patients with a median duration of pain of 49 months referred to a Pain Management Centre filled out the Functional Barometer questionnaire, adapted to the International Classification of Functioning and Health.


66% patients were women and 34% were men. Seventy-five percent were in working age, 18-64 years. The duration before being referred to a pain specialist was over 4 years and 65% reported pain from more than three origins. Significant differences in functioning, activity and quality-of-life were found in comparing gender, age and origin of pain. Men more often reported physiological limitations while women more often reported psychological limitations of functioning, activity and quality-of-life. The most important were that men more often had difficulties in walking and climbing stairs, while women reported problems with concentration, stress and psychological demands, family relations and contact with friends.


The significant differences regarding functioning, activity and quality-of-life between women and men as age and origin of pain must be taken into account when tailoring individual treatment and rehabilitation programmes.

  1. Conflicts of interest: The authors state they have no conflict of interest.


The study was supported by grants from, Neuro-Förbundet (Neuro Sweden). A special thanks to Lisbet Broman at the Department of Rehabilitation, Danderyd Hospital, for statistical support and to Lovisa Pernskold for admin support and to all the team members at the Pain Management Unit at Södersjukhuset University Hospital.


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Received: 2017-04-28
Accepted: 2017-06-11
Published Online: 2017-10-01
Published in Print: 2017-10-01

© 2017 Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain

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