Results found an overall prevalence of chronic pain of 52.1, most frequently affecting the lower limbs. Neuropathic pain, which refers to pain resulting from a lesion or disease impacting the sensory nervous system, was the most frequent type of chronic pain, affecting 23.7 percent of the patients analyzed (89 people).
Pain intensity was also found to be significantly higher in patients with neuropathic pain compared to those with non-neuropathic pain.
Researchers measured patients’ disability using the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). They determined that patients with chronic pain, and especially those with chronic neuropathic pain, had significantly higher EDSS scores (meaning greater disability) than those without such pain.
Both these patient groups were also more likely to be on long-term pain medications: 33 percent of MS patients with neuropathic pain, and 24 percent of those with chronic pain.
These results indicate that pain is underdiagnosed and undertreated in MS patients, and a factor that may contribute to increased disability.
“Our results suggest that clinical disability is higher in MS patients with chronic pain and, in particular, in those with neuropathic pain,” the researchers concluded. “The present study supports the routine assessment of neuropathic pain in MS patients.”