Background: Overcrowding of emergency departments, which are not suitable places to treat chronic pain and are responsible for managing acute disorders, leads to prolonged waiting times, delays in treating conditions requiring rapid intervention, patient dissatisfaction, and chaos and exhaustion in the emergency department.
Objectives: To examine the characteristics of patients who presented to the emergency department with nonmalignant chronic pain, to determine the frequency of use and factors that caused emergency department use.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in an emergency department. Three hundred ninety-two patients with chronic pain were included.
Results: The mean age of the patients was 48.1±15.3 years, 62.2% were female and 37.8% were male. Of the patients, 59.2% were married, 42.6% had elementary school education, and 56.1% were unemployed. The most common cause of emergency department admission was low back pain, 32.7% were using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, 16.3% were using opioid analgesics, 15.8% were using anticonvulsants, and 13.2% were using antidepressant drugs; 22% were not using any medication. The reasons for presenting to the emergency department for chronic pain were as follows: 13.3% for medication prescription, 74.5% to receive analgesics, and 12.2% for a diagnosis. The mean Patient Health Questionnaire-9 scale score of the participants was 12.82±3.98, which indicated moderate depressive symptoms. The mean Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 scale score was 9.84±3.23, which indicated mild generalized anxiety disorder.
Conclusion: Instead of trying to suppress pain, emphasis should be put on informing patients about the methods of coping with pain, increasing their quality of life, and integrating them into social life.