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OBJECTIVE: We examine the descriptive epidemiology of chronic widespread pain using the 'Manchester' definition [CWP(M)] and assess psychosocial and other features which characterize subjects with such pain according to these more stringent criteria. METHODS: A population postal survey of 3004 subjects was conducted in the Greater Manchester area of the UK. RESULTS: The point prevalence of Manchester-defined chronic widespread pain was 4.7%. CWP(M) was associated with psychological disturbance [risk ratio (RR) = 2.2, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.4-3.5)], fatigue [RR = 3.8, 95% CI (2.3-6.1)], low levels of self-care [RR = 2.2, 95% CI (1.4-3.6)] and with the reporting of other somatic symptoms [RR = 2.0, 95% CI (1.3-3.1)]. Hypochondriacal beliefs and a preoccupation with bodily symptoms were also associated with the presence of CWP(M). CONCLUSION: This definition of chronic widespread pain is more precise in identifying subjects with truly widespread pain and its associated adverse psychosocial factors. Clear associations with other 'non-pain' somatic symptoms were identified, which further supports the hypothesis that chronic widespread pain is one feature of somatization.

Original publication




Journal article


Rheumatology (oxford)

Publication Date





275 - 279


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Chronic Disease, England, Fatigue, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Pain, Prevalence, Sex Factors, Somatoform Disorders