Occurrence, Characteristics, and Predictors of Pain in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Pain Manag Nurs. 2016 Apr;17(2):107-18. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2016.01.002. Epub 2016 Apr 16.


Few studies have provided a detailed characterization of pain in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The aims of this cross-sectional study were to describe the occurrence, intensity, locations, and level of interference associated with pain, as well as pain relief; to identify differences in demographic, clinical, and symptom characteristics between COPD patients with and without pain; and to determine which demographic, clinical, and symptom characteristics were associated with average pain, worst pain, and pain interference. A total of 258 patients with COPD provided information on demographic characteristics; comorbidities; respiratory parameters including dyspnea; body mass index; and symptom characteristics (i.e., anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, and fatigue). Pain was measured using the Brief Pain Inventory. Of these 258 COPD patients, 157 (61%) reported pain. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed to determine which demographic, clinical, and symptom characteristics were associated with average pain severity, worst pain severity, and mean pain interference. Lower stages of COPD were associated with higher worst pain and higher pain interference scores. Higher depression scores were associated with higher average pain and higher pain interference scores. In addition, higher number of pain locations was associated with higher average and higher worst pain severity scores. Findings from this study confirm that pain is a significant problem and highlights the need for specific pain management interventions for patients with COPD. More research is needed about specific pain characteristics and symptoms to gain an increased knowledge about the causes of pain in these patients.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pain Measurement*
  • Pain, Intractable / complications
  • Pain, Intractable / epidemiology*
  • Pain, Intractable / nursing
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / nursing
  • Surveys and Questionnaires