Ethnocultural and sex characteristics of patients attending a tertiary care pain clinic in Toronto, Ontario
A Mailis-Gagnon | B Yegneswaran | K Nicholson | S Lakha | M Papagapiou | AJ Steiman | D Ng | T Cohodarevic | M Umana | M Zurowski
BACKGROUND: Ethnocultural factors and sex may greatly affect pain perception and expression. Emerging literature is also documenting racial and ethnic differences in pain access and care.
OBJECTIVE: To define the sex and ethnocultural characteristics of patients attending a tertiary care, university-affiliated pain clinic in Toronto, Ontario.
METHODS: Data were collected on 1242 consecutive, new patients seen over a three-year period at the Comprehensive Pain Program (CPP) in downtown Toronto. Data were compared with the Canada 2001 Census.
RESULTS: English-speaking, Canadian-born patients constituted 58.6% of the CPP population, similar to the 2001 Canadian Census data for the Greater Toronto Area. Certain visible minority groups (Indo-Pakistani and Chinese) were significantly under-represented, while European groups were over-represented. While women outnumbered men, they presented with lower levels of physical pathology in general, particularly in certain ethnic groups. Patients from Europe (representing primarily immigrants who arrived in Canada before 1960), were older, by 10 years to 15 years, than the average CPP population, and had a much higher incidence of physical or medical disorders.
CONCLUSIONS: The implications of the study and the importance of sex and ethnicity in terms of presentation to Canadian pain clinics are discussed. Future well-designed studies are needed to shed light on the role of both patients' and physicians' ethnicity and sex in pain perception and expression, decision-making regarding pain treatments and acceptance of pain treatments.