Exploring the Effect of Ethnicity on Chronic Orofacial Pain: A Comparative Study of Jewish and Arab Israeli Patients

Robert Yanko, Yaara Badran, Shirley Leibovitz, Yair Sharav, Yuval Vered, Naama Keshet, Andra Rettman, Doron J. Aframian, Yaron Haviv*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The relationship between ethnicity and chronic pain has been studied worldwide. The population of Israel includes two main ethnic groups, 75% Jews and 21% Arabs. The purpose of this study was to compare orofacial chronic pain characteristics and treatment outcomes between Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens. Two hundred patients admitted to the Orofacial Pain Clinic at Hebrew University–Hadassah School of Dental Medicine between 2017 and 2022 were selected randomly for this historical cohort study. Our cohort included 159 (79.5%) Jews and 41 (20.5%) Arabs. Twenty-six pain-related variables were compared of which only two differed significantly between the two groups, awakening due to pain and mean muscle sensitivity; both indicators were higher in the Arab group (p < 0.05). No differences were found in any of the other variables such as diagnosis, pain severity, onset, and treatment outcome. This minimal difference may be explained by the equal accessibility to medical services for all citizens, and the diversity of our staff that includes Jew as well as Arab service providers. These factors minimize or even eliminate racial bias, language, and cultural barriers, and is reflected in the minor differences in orofacial pain characteristics found between the two main ethnic groups in Israel.

    Original languageAmerican English
    Article number1984
    JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
    Issue number14
    StatePublished - 8 Jul 2023

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2023 by the authors.


    • Arabs
    • Jews
    • chronic pain
    • ethnicity
    • orofacial pain


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