Background and aim: Although pain is prevalent in sarcoidosis, this has never been studied systematically. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the presence and impact of pain in sarcoidosis.
Methods: Members from the Dutch Sarcoidosis Society without co-morbidity (n = 821) participated in this study. The World Health Organisation Quality of Life assessment instrument (WHOQOL-100) was completed, as well as a symptom inventory questionnaire addressing the presence of various categories of pain, i.e., muscle pain, chest pain, abdominal pain, arthralgia, and/or headache.
Results: Pain was reported by 594 patients (72.4%). Arthralgia was experienced most frequently (53.8%), followed by muscle pain (40.2%), headache (28.0%) and chest pain (26.9%). The number of types of pain a patient was suffering from (ranging from 0-5) was related to the WHOQOL- 100 Pain and Discomfort scale (r = 0.49, p < 0.001). Patients with more types of pain had lower quality of life (QOL). In addition, the total amount of experienced pain categories was associated with the WHOQOL-100 domain Level of Independence (r = -O.43, p < 0.001), and the facet Energy and Fatigue (r = -0.38, p < 0.001). The number of types of pain was predicted by using analgesics, psychological/neurological medication, NSAIDs, being female, indicating to feel tired, more negative feelings and less energy (F(7.635) = 35.2, p < 0.001; R2 = 27.9%).
Conclusions: Pain appeared to be a major problem in sarcoidosis, especially arthralgia. Although negative feelings and fatigue were related to pain, it could not fully explain pain. Future studies are needed to address mechanisms of pain, pain behaviour, and the best therapeutic approach to pain in sarcoidosis.