Assessment of pain and health-related quality of life in slowly progressive neuromuscular disease

Am J Hosp Palliat Care. Jan-Feb 2002;19(1):39-48. doi: 10.1177/104990910201900109.


Few studies have examined the effect of pain on the quality of life of individuals with slowly progressive neuromuscular disease (NMD). The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency and extent to which subjects with slowly progressive NMD report pain and the association between pain and health-related quality of life in persons with NMD. The study design was a descriptive, nonexperimental survey. Of a total of 1,432 subjects with slowly progressive NMDs recruited from a university-based NMD clinic and the membership rosters of worldwide NMD support organizations, 859 agreed to participate. The primary measurement tool used was the Medical Outcomes Study SF-36 health survey. Our results indicated that, with the exception of adult spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the frequency and severity of pain reported in slowly progressive NMDs was significantly greater than levels of pain reported by the general US population and was comparable to pain reported by subjects with osteoarthritis and chronic low back pain. There was a significant correlation between increased pain and lower levels of general health, vitality, social function, and physical role. Pain was moderately associated with increased fatigue, inability to cope adequately with stress, and sleep disturbance. In conclusion, with the exception of adult SMA, the frequency and severity of pain reported in slowly progressive NMDs was significant.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Hereditary Sensory and Motor Neuropathy / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / complications*
  • Muscular Disorders, Atrophic / complications*
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Quality of Life*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • United States