Journal of Neurology

, Volume 260, Issue 8, pp 2005–2015

Longitudinal 7-year follow-up of chronic pain in persons with multiple sclerosis in the community

Original Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s00415-013-6925-z

Cite this article as:
Khan, F., Amatya, B. & Kesselring, J. J Neurol (2013) 260: 2005. doi:10.1007/s00415-013-6925-z


The aim of this work is to examine the course and impact of chronic pain and pain-related disability in persons with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) over a 7-year period in the Australian community employing a longitudinal, cross-sectional study using structured interviews and validated measures. The intensity of chronic pain was assessed with the visual analogue scale (VAS); the chronic pain grade (CPG) classified pain severity using scores for both pain intensity and pain-related disability, and the assessment of quality of life (AQoL) questionnaire assessed impact on participatory domains. Of the 74 pwMS assessed at 7-year follow-up (T2), 53 (71.6 %) were female, with average age of 55.6 years, and median time since diagnosis of 16.5 years. At T2, 13 (13.8 %) more participants reported chronic pain compared with baseline assessment (T1), (61 vs. 74). Although there were no significant differences on average pain intensity rating between T1 and T2 (p = 0.65), more participants at T2 reported higher rates of pain (13.1 vs. 28.4 %). At T2, participants reported greater disability limiting their daily activities due to pain (16.2 vs. 0 %), and more deterioration and dependency suggested by the AQoL domains of “Independent living” (p < 0.001) and “Physical senses” (p = 0.013). At T2, pwMS used less pharmacological medication but accessed more “other” therapy to cope with their chronic pain. This study provides longitudinal insight into the complex multidimensional chronic pain-related disability in pwMS over a longer period. Improved clinician understanding of the course of chronic pain, early intervention, and patient self-management may decrease pain-related disability and contribute to their overall well-being.


Multiple sclerosis Rehabilitation Chronic pain Quality of life Disability 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation MedicineRoyal Melbourne HospitalMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Dentistry and Health SciencesUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Public Health and Preventive MedicineMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Neurology and NeurorehabilitationRehabilitation CenterValensSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations