Pain and Multiple Sclerosis: Don't Overlook the Impact

New Study Reports: Pain From MS as Intrusive as Illness Itself

In what is described by the authors as a first of its kind study, researchers report that pain associated with multiple sclerosis significantly impairs quality of life for many MS sufferers, disrupting their daily activities including their work, recreation, community engagement, and overall health. The authors write that “More than half of persons with [MS] have pain, with nearly a third noting it to be one of their worst symptoms. Pain among [people with MS] has been associated with poorer psychological functioning and level of productivity … and pain interferes with aspects of their daily functioning.” The findings were reported last week at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers in Nashville.

Researchers investigated 161 patients with MS from the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS) Registry who had reported at least mild degrees of pain. The impact of associated pain was assessed using the Illness Intrusiveness Ratings Scale (IIRS). The authors noted that “While the association between other factors (eg, emotional distress) and perceived illness intrusiveness has been examined in [MS], no study to date has investigated pain-related illness intrusiveness in relation to MS symptoms,” and concluded that “These findings highlight the impact that pain has on [patients with MS'] daily lives, even after accounting for the level of disease severity.”

Read a news report about the study findings.

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