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Papers of the Week

Papers: 26 Aug 2023 - 1 Sep 2023

Basic Science, Registries, Sex/Gender/Race, Social Aspects

Human Studies, Neurobiology

Musculoskeletal Pain, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Aug 24

J Pain


Prevalence and Risk Factors of de Novo Widespread Post-COVID Pain in Non-Hospitalized COVID-19 Survivors: A Nation-Wide Exploratory Population-Based Survey.


Ebbesen BD, Giordano R, Valera-Calero JA, Hedegaard JN, Fernández-de-Las-Peñas C, Arendt-Nielsen L


This survey investigated the prevalence of de novo widespread musculoskeletal post-COVID pain and risk factors for its development in non-hospitalized COVID-19 survivors. A nationwide exploratory cross-sectional study was conducted including a cohort of 593,741 Danish residents that had suffered from a SARS-CoV-2 infection from March 2020 to December 2021. A questionnaire was distributed to the Danish population via digital mail system (e-Boks). Self-reported demographic data, previous medical comorbidities (diagnosed), socioeconomic data, time of infection, prior chronic pain conditions (diagnosed), development of de novo widespread pain after infection, pain medication, and pain intensity information were collected. Responders consisted of 130,443 non-hospitalized participants (58.2% women; mean age: 50.2 years). At a mean of 14.4 (SD 6.0) months after infection, 6,875 (5.3%) patients reported the presence of de novo widespread musculoskeletal post-COVID pain. Almost 75% of the patients reported a moderate to severe intensity of the pain. In conclusion, de novo widespread post-COVID pain was present in 5.3% of non-hospitalized COVID-19 survivors one year after infection (14.4±6.0 months). Older age, female sex, higher body mass index, and history of migraine, whiplash, stress, type-2 diabetes, neurological disorders, and lower socioeconomic status, were risk factors associated with the development of de novo widespread post-COVID pain in non-hospitalized patients. As de novo widespread pain is considered a sign of sensitization, this group will require specialized pain management attention. PERSPECTIVE: This article presents de novo widespread post-COVID pain prevalence in a cohort of 130,443 citizens infected with COVID-19. The study identifies potential risk factors associated with development of these new pain symptoms. The results may increase focus on this patient group and potentially help identifying predictors for post-infection pain development.