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An epidemiological study of neuropathic pain symptoms in Canadian adults.

VanDenKerkhof, Elizabeth G.; Mann, Elizabeth G.; Torrance, Nicola; Smith, Blair H.; Johnson, Ana; Gilron, Ian


Elizabeth G. VanDenKerkhof

Elizabeth G. Mann

Blair H. Smith

Ana Johnson

Ian Gilron


The reported prevalence of neuropathic pain ranges from 6.9% to 10%; however the only Canadian study reported 17.9%. The objective of this study was to describe the epidemiology of neuropathic pain in Canada. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in a random sample of Canadian adults. The response rate was 21.1% (1504/7134). Likely or possible neuropathic pain was defined using a neuropathic pain-related diagnosis, and a positive outcome on the Self-Report Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs pain scale (S-LANSS), or the Douleur Neuropathique 4 (DN4) Questions. The prevalence of likely neuropathic pain was 1.9% (S-LANSS) and 3.4% (DN4), and that of possible neuropathic pain was 5.8% (S-LANSS) and 8.1% (DN4). Neuropathic pain was highest in economically-disadvantaged males. There is a significant burden of neuropathic pain in Canada. The low response rate, and a slightly older and less educated sample than the Canadian population may have led to an overestimate of neuropathic pain. Population prevalence varies by screening tool used, indicating that more work is needed to develop reliable measures. Population-level screening targeted towards high risk groups should improve the sensitivity and specificity of screening, while clinical examination of those with positive screening results will further refine the estimate of prevalence.


VANDENKERKHOF, E.G., MANN, E.G., TORRANCE, N., SMITH, B.H., JOHNSON, A. and GILRON, I. 2016. An epidemiological study of neuropathic pain symptoms in Canadian adults. Pain research and management [online], 2016, article ID 9815750. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 14, 2015
Online Publication Date Nov 19, 2015
Publication Date Dec 31, 2016
Deposit Date Dec 11, 2019
Publicly Available Date Dec 12, 2019
Journal Pain research and management
Print ISSN 1203-6765
Electronic ISSN 1918-1523
Publisher Hindawi
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2016
Article Number 9815750
Keywords Neuropathic pain; Epidemiology; Canada
Public URL


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