Text Size: a  |   a 

Psychosocial Factors Influence Pain in MS

December 22, 2015

Pain is prevalent in 63% of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a recent study published in Neurology, and psychosocial factors may be key contributors to the severity of that pain. This study used a cognitive-behavioral MS model to determine that psychosocial factors may increase pain in patients.

“MS-associated pain is typically classified as either neuropathic or non-neuropathic in origin,” the authors wrote. “Between 5% and 32% of [MS] regard pain as their most severe symptom.”

612 patients filled out a survey assessing their pain and ways of thinking, and the results were very similar between the neuropathic and non-neuropathic pain groups, indicating a possible correlation.

“All psychosocial factors including distress, negative beliefs about pain and its consequences, and avoidance of activity, were related to pain outcomes,” the team confirmed.

85% of the patients ranked as moderate to severe on the Brief Pain Inventory Short Form, even though 93% were taking pain medications. After taking demographic and other variables into consideration, it was found that the psychosocial factors contributed to 24% of the variance in pain severity and 30% of interference. These indications remained even after disregarding conditions like depression and anxiety.

It was concluded that psychosocial factors are important predictors for pain levels and can help with determining effective treatment.