Pain in neuromyelitis optica and its effect on quality of life: a cross-sectional study

Neurology. 2011 Aug 16;77(7):652-8. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318229e694. Epub 2011 Aug 3.


Objective: To assess the features of pain and its impact on the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in neuromyelitis optica (NMO).

Methods: We analyzed 37 patients with NMO or NMO spectrum disorders seen at the Department of Neurology, Tohoku University Hospital, Sendai, Japan, during the period from November 2008 to February 2009. A total of 35 of them were aquaporin-4 antibody-positive. We used Short Form Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) to assess pain and Short Form 36-item (SF-36) health survey to evaluate the HRQOL. Fifty-one patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) were also studied for comparison.

Results: Pain in NMO (83.8%) was far more common than in MS (47.1%). The Pain Severity Index score in BPI was significantly higher in NMO than in MS, and patients' daily life assessed by BPI was highly interfered by pain in NMO as compared with MS. Pain involving the trunk and both legs was much more frequent in NMO than in MS. SF-36 scores in NMO were lower than MS, especially in bodily pain.

Conclusion: Our study showed that pain in NMO is more frequent and severe than in MS and that pain has a grave impact on NMO patients' daily life and HRQOL. Therapy to relieve pain is expected to improve their HRQOL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology
  • Neuromyelitis Optica / complications
  • Neuromyelitis Optica / physiopathology
  • Neuromyelitis Optica / psychology*
  • Pain / complications
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires