Korean J Pain.  2022 Apr;35(2):209-223. 10.3344/kjp.2022.35.2.209.

Impact of coronavirus disease 2019 on patients with chronic pain: multicenter study in Korea

  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Inje University Sanggye Paik Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Hallym University Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Jeong-clinic, Seoul, Korea
  • 5Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Inje University Seoul Paik Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 6Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Jeju National University School of Medicine, Jeju, Korea
  • 7Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Hallym University Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, Korea


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused significant changes. This study aimed to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on patients with chronic pain.
Patients with chronic pain from 23 university hospitals in South Korea participated in this study. The anonymous survey questionnaire consisted of 25 questions regarding the following: demographic data, diagnosis, hospital visit frequency, exercise duration, time outside, sleep duration, weight change, nervousness and anxiety, depression, interest or pleasure, fatigue, daily life difficulties, and self-harm thoughts. Depression severity was evaluated using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the relationship between increased pain and patient factors.
A total of 914 patients completed the survey, 35.9% of whom had decreased their number of visits to the hospital, mostly due to COVID-19. The pain level of 200 patients has worsened since the COVID-19 outbreak, which was more prominent in complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Noticeable post-COVID-19 changes such as exercise duration, time spent outside, sleep patterns, mood, and weight affected patients with chronic pain. Depression severity was more significant in patients with CRPS. The total PHQ-9 average score of patients with CRPS was 15.5, corresponding to major depressive orders. The patients’ decreased exercise duration, decreased sleep duration, and increased depression were significantly associated with increased pain.
COVID-19 has caused several changes in patients with chronic pain. During the pandemic, decreased exercise and sleep duration and increased depression were associated with patients’ increasing pain.


Chronic Pain; Complex Regional Pain Syndrome; Coronavirus; COVID-19; Depression; Fatigue; Pandemics; Physical Distancing; Sleep; Social Isolation; Surveys and Questionnaires
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