Musculoskeletal symptoms and related factors in postacute COVID-19 patients

Int J Clin Pract. 2021 Nov;75(11):e14734. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.14734. Epub 2021 Aug 18.


Aim: There is a lack of an overview of the factors associated with postacute COVID-19 musculoskeletal symptoms. The aims of this study were as follows: 1- to evaluate the most frequent admission symptoms and the frequency of musculoskeletal symptoms in postacute COVID-19 patients; and 2- to determine the related factors with the postacute COVID-19 musculoskeletal symptoms.

Methods: A total of 280 postacute COVID-19 patients (183 females, 97 males) were enrolled and divided into two groups: 1- patients whose musculoskeletal symptoms initiated with or were aggravated by COVID-19 (n = 240); and 2- patients whose musculoskeletal symptoms did not change with COVID-19 (n = 40). The variables were demographic and treatment data, symptoms on admission, postacute COVID-19 symptoms, laboratory results (complete blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, ferritin and d-dimer), chest computed tomography findings and symptoms during acute COVID-19.

Results: Most of the patients have fatigue (71.8%), spine pain (70.7%) and myalgia (60.7%). The most common pain region was the back (30.4%). The frequency of dyspnoea was 30%, cough 18.5% and chest pain 10.7%. Having any chronic disease (P = .031), the duration of hospital stay (P = .016), frequency of back pain during acute COVID-19 (P = .018), tomography findings and d-dimer (P = .035) levels were significantly higher, and lymphocyte (P = .024) levels were significantly lower in the patients whose symptoms began with or were aggravated by COVID-19.

Conclusion: Back pain was the most frequent symptom on admission. The most common postacute COVID-19 musculoskeletal symptoms were fatigue, spine pain and myalgia. Lower lymphocyte and higher d-dimer levels, the presence of COVID-19 findings in tomography and back pain during acute COVID-19 infection, higher duration of hospital stay and having chronic diseases were related to post-COVID-19 musculoskeletal symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Chest Pain
  • Dyspnea
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • SARS-CoV-2