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Chronic Cough May Lead to Chronic Pain

Sharing Common Risk Factors, Pathophysiologic Mechanisms?

What is the relationship between chronic coughing and chronic pain? Is there one? As reported in European Respiratory Journal, they have common neurobiological mechanisms and pathology, and confer risk on each other. In a study of over 7000 subjects, 54% had chronic pain at baseline. Chronic cough, defining as lasting at least 3 months, was noted in 10% to 13% of those with chronic pain. Researchers stated in results that "Subjects with chronic cough had a significant risk of developing chronic pain compared to those without chronic cough."

Chronic pain conditions noted in the study subjects included arthrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica, ankylosing spondylitis, gout, or an unspecified musculoskeletal condition. Patients with chronic pain at baseline were more likely to develop unexplained chronic cough compared with those without chronic pain and those with chronic cough at baseline were also significantly more likely to develop chronic pain compared with those without chronic cough. Researchers concluded that "chronic cough and chronic pain are interrelated in middle-aged and older [people], thereby suggesting that both conditions might share common risk factors and/or pathogenic mechanisms. A history of chronic pain may be relevant in the clinical evaluation of patients presenting with chronic cough and vice versa.” Further studies are called for.


 

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