Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be more likely to experience chronic neck pain, lower back pain, and migraine than individuals without COPD, according to a study published in The Clinical Journal of Pain.

This cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the prevalence of chronic pain in patients with COPD compared with healthy adults age >35 years. Individualized survey data gathered during two 12-month periods were used for the study.

Demographic information, socioeconomic status, and health status as well as lifestyle information and pain characteristics were recorded.

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According to multivariable regression models, those with COPD had a higher prevalence of all types of pain than healthy participants (chronic neck pain, 40.5% vs 26.1%, respectively; chronic lower back pain, 44.8% vs 28.4%, respectively; migraine, 22.5% vs 13.2%, respectively).

The following characteristics were found to increase the risk for chronic pain: age 40 to 59 years, obesity, female gender, poor to very poor health, use of pain medications, and presence of comorbidities (eg, mental disorder).

Limitations of this study include the inability to address causality, the likelihood of overreporting or underreporting as a result of information or social desirability biases, and the possibility of residual confounding by unrecognized factors.

“These findings open new perspectives in the clinical management of patients [with COPD],” concluded the study authors.

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de Miguel-Díez J, López-de-Andrés A, Hernandez-Barrera V, et al. Prevalence of pain in COPD patients and associated factors: report from a population based study [published online February 26, 2018]. Clin J Pain. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000598