Musculoskeletal Pain, While Prevalent, Has Little Impact on T2D Target Achievement

This real-world study examined the link between type 2 diabetes treatment goals and musculoskeletal pain.

A cross-sectional study found that musculoskeletal pain was relatively common among patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D), but its presence did not affect treatment goals. These findings were published in Primary Care Diabetes.

This analysis was part of the Rovaniemi T2D Study which was conducted at the largest health center in Lapland, Finland. Between 2016 and 2019, patients with T2D (N=3478) were evaluated for musculoskeletal pain and the instance of pain was associated with guideline-recommended glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C), systolic blood pressure (SBP), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) treatment targets. Musculoskeletal pain was defined by medical coding for low back, neck, shoulder, and knee pain.

The patient population comprised 55% men, aged mean 70.0 (standard deviation [SD], 11.7) years, BMI was 29.9 (SD, 5.74) kg/m2, 25% were obese, HbA1C was 48.5 (SD, 12.4) mmol/mol, LDL-C was 2.52 (SD, 1.01) mmol/l, and SBP was 136 (SD, 18.4) mmHg.

Patients who reported musculoskeletal pain (n=753) were significantly younger (P =.032), more were women (P <.001), they had higher BMI (P <.001), more were obese (P <.001), and they had lower HbA1C (P =.036).

Stratified by musculoskeletal pain status, in the unadjusted analysis patients who had musculoskeletal pain were associated with increased odds of attaining the LDL-C target (odds ratio [OR], 1.29; 95% CI, 1.01-1.65; P <.05). However, after adjusting for age, gender, BMI, hemoglobin, lipid lowering medications, multimorbidity, and healthcare utilization, the association between LDL-C and musculoskeletal pain was attenuated (adjusted OR [aOR], 1.22; 95% CI, 0.94-1.60).

No other significant associations were observed in the unadjusted or adjusted analyses.

The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain may have been underestimated in this analysis due to the reliance on medical coding data.

This study found that musculoskeletal pain was relatively common among patients with T2D and tended to occur among younger patients and more obese patients. The presence of MS pain did not seem to influence treatment target attainment.


Heikkala E, Hagnäs M, Jokelainen J, et al. Association of musculoskeletal pain with the achievement of treatment targets for type 2 diabetes among primary care patients. Prim Care Diabetes. 2022;S1751-9918(22)00084-5. doi:10.1016/j.pcd.2022.04.006