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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchiectasis make pain worse

16 Jul 2019

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchiectasis suffer from heightened pain perception, severity and sensitivity, a recent study has found.

The study included 29 patients (mean age, 56.59±8.00 years) with moderate-to-severe COPD/bronchiectasis. Pain sensitivity was measured using an algometer, while pain severity was self-rated. Postural abnormalities were examined visually from the lateral and posterior views, and functional balance was evaluated according to the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test. Thirty-one healthy comparators (mean age, 54.35±6.81 years) were also included.

Pain was reported in 89.7 percent of the COPD/bronchiectasis patients. This was significantly greater than that in the controls (19.4 percent). Disaggregating according to site of pain did not alter these results. Controls only reported headaches and lumbago pains (9.7 percent for both), while patients experienced pain in all areas examined.

Patients also demonstrated significantly lower pain pressure thresholds at the trapezius (49.73±10.75 vs 68.35±21.17; p<0.001) and deltoid (39.42±8.98 vs 55.45±16.21; p<0.001) muscles; threshold at the pectoralis muscle was comparable between groups.

However, despite lowered threshold at the trapezius and deltoid muscles, tolerance at these sites was comparable between patients and controls. On the other hand, threshold at the pectoralis muscle was significantly better in patients (100.59±11.66 vs 71.94±30.62; p<0.001).

Moreover, patients with COPD/bronchiectasis were more likely to have poor posture than their control counterparts (86.2 percent vs 41.9 percent), as well as significantly worse mean TUG outcomes (6.66±2.54 vs 4.52±0.47 seconds; p<0.001).

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