A network analysis on biopsychosocial factors and pain-related outcomes assessed during a COVID-19 lockdown

Sci Rep. 2023 Mar 16;13(1):4399. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-31054-4.


Psychological stress, social isolation, physical inactivity, and reduced access to care during lockdowns throughout a pandemic negatively impact pain and function. In the context of the first COVID-19 lockdown in Spain, we aimed to investigate how different biopsychosocial factors influence chiropractic patients' pain-related outcomes and vice-versa. A total of 648 chiropractic patients completed online questionnaires including variables from the following categories: demographics, pain outcomes, pain beliefs, impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, stress/anxiety and self-efficacy. Twenty-eight variables were considered in a cross-sectional network analysis to examine bidirectional associations between biopsychosocial factors and pain outcomes. Subgroup analyses were conducted to estimate differences according to gender and symptom duration. The greatest associations were observed between pain duration and pain evolution during lockdown. Participants' age, pain symptoms' evolution during lockdown, and generalized anxiety were the variables with the strongest influence over the whole network. Negative emotions evoked by the pandemic were indirectly associated with pain outcomes, possibly via pain catastrophizing. The network structure of patients reporting acute pain showed important differences when compared to patients with chronic pain. These findings will contribute to identify which factors explain the deleterious effects of both the pandemic and the restrictions on patients living with pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Pain*
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Pandemics