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Previous studies have shown that people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol are much less likely to report chronic widespread pain than those who do not drink or drink only rarely. We cannot be sure whether drinking alcohol at this level is causing people to have less pain, or whether people who have worse pain and worse health generally decide to drink less because of their pain and health status.
We used data from the UK Biobank to look at how much reporting of this type of pain varied according to how much people drank. Particularly we wanted to look at the group of people who said that they had not changed their drinking behaviour in the past, either through ill health or for other reasons. We found that the pattern of pain reporting was the same whether people had stopped or lowered their drinking in the past or not. Among those people who had not changed their drinking behaviour, non-drinkers were 5 or 6 times as likely to report chronic widespread pain as those drinking moderate amounts of alcohol. This is a very big relationship but this type of study by itself cannot tell us the reasons for the relationship.
Epidemiology of chronic pain
This project will investigate the epidemiology of chronic pain. It will determine:
* how common pain is at individual sites throughout the body as well as `widespread body pain`
*the factors associated with the reporting of pain including demographic (age, sex, socioeconomic status), lifestyle factors (smoking , alcohol, physical activity)
*other health related factors reported with pain (e.g. fatigue and mood disorders)
*whether persons who report pain also report markers of poor cardiovascular (heart) and respiratory (lung) health and whether their lifestyle puts them at an increased risk of cancer.
*the relationship between reporting of pain and history of falls and fractures.
The project meets Biobank's purpose by researching common and disabling symptoms in the population with a view to further understanding their aetiology. Such knowledge will help to inform the design of future trials to optimise management.
This application requires only data on the full cohort. project It requires linkage to cancer incidence and mortality data (as and when it becomes available), and requires baseline data on lifestyle and psychosocial factors, medical conditions, bone densitometry and blood pressure;