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Volume 35 , Issue 2
Spring 2021

Pages 139–149


Prevalence of Facial Pain and Headache in Sweden

Sonia Sharma, BDS, MS, PhD/Anna Lövgren, DDS, PhD/Sigvard Åkerman, BSc, DDS, Odont Dr/Peter M. Nilsson, MD, PhD/Björn Axtelius, BA, DDS, Odont Dr/Thomas List, DDS, Odont Dr/Birgitta Häggman Henrikson, DDS, PhD


DOI: 10.11607/ofph.2645

Aims: To compare the prevalence of facial pain and headache across various regions in Sweden. Methods: This study involved a comparison of cross-sectional questionnaire studies over a period of 10 years including 128,193 individuals and assessed facial pain, pain on function, and headache. Participants included (1) all Public Dental Service patients aged 16 to 90 years in Västerbotten (n = 57,283) and Gävleborg (n = 60,900); and (2) random samples of residents in Kalmar (n = 3,560) and Skåne (n = 6,450). Facial pain and pain on function were assessed for all participants, and headache was also assessed for participants in Kalmar and Skåne. Descriptive statistics were used to estimate unadjusted prevalence estimates and demographic characteristics. Prevalence estimates were adjusted for age and sex using weighted distributions from the 2015 data in the Swedish population registry before comparisons across the regions. Results: Overall, the prevalence of facial pain and headache were significantly higher in female than in male participants (P < .01). The standardized prevalence of facial pain was 4.9% in Västerbotten, 1.4% in Gävleborg, 4.6% in Kalmar, and 7.6% in Skåne. For headache, the standardized prevalence was 18.9% in Kalmar and 21.3% in Skåne. In Skåne, individuals with facial pain had a 15-fold higher odds of headache than those without. Conclusion: In the present Swedish epidemiologic study, the prevalence of facial pain ranged from 1.4% in Gävleborg to 7.6% in Skåne. Besides different sampling frames and other population characteristics, the presence of a high number of immigrants in Skåne may account for some differences in pain prevalence across the Swedish regions.


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