Chronic pain in Covid patients

Tiredness and breathlessness, but above all joint pain, to the muscles, to the chest that do not pass even weeks or months after the diagnosis of Covid-19: it is the post-coronavirus syndrome that is estimated to affect, with at least one symptom, up to 80% of the infected. The 4% of the most serious patients, who after contracting SARS-CoV-2 have been hospitalized and have needed help with breathing or have even been intubated in intensive care, once recovered they have to deal with very painful sequelae heavy that remain chronic for months even after the infection resolves.

At least 3,000 from Campania are added to the 200,000 who already suffer from chronic pain, for example from back pain or arthrosis. The experts gathered on the occasion of the “X Advanced Training Course on acute and chronic pain, from research to clinical “, organized by the National Cancer Institute IRCCS Pascale Foundation of Naples by MCM Congressi, in digital version from 4 to 6 March.

Due to inadequate lifestyles and the average increase in life expectancy, chronic pain strikes more and more and ever earlier with considerable consequences on the productivity, social relationships and quality of life of those who suffer from it, for example anxiety or depression in 20% of cases and, in an equally considerable percentage, disorders affecting the sexual sphere.

Intervening with an all-round approach is the solution, today more than ever: in recent months many patients with chronic pain have remained without adequate therapies due to the Covid-19 emergency and it is therefore essential to return to take charge of them through dedicated multidisciplinary teams .

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“A sequel to Covid-19”

“Chronic pain means continuous pain, of duration of more than three months, associated with significant emotional distress and functional and / or physical disability. It can be independent of other diseases, such as in the case of fibromyalgia, chronic pelvic pain, irritable bowel, or it can be secondary to other pathologies such as tumors, osteoarticular disorders, surgery – explains Arturo Cuomo, director of the Complex Structure of Anesthesia, Intensive Care and Antalgic Therapy of the National Cancer Institute IRCCS Pascale Foundation of Naples and scientific coordinator of the course -.

We are observing that chronic pain can also be a sequela of Covid-19: 4% of the most serious patients, who have been hospitalized and have needed help with breathing or have even been intubated in intensive care, experience chronic pain weeks or months after the infection resolves. These patients are added to the many Italians with chronic pain, who now more than ever need adequate management”.

“The quality of life worsens”

There are about 2 million Italians with chronic pain (between 160,000 and 200,000 from Campania), of which at least half have severe or very severe painful symptoms; however, chronic pain doesn’t just cause physical symptoms, but worsens the quality of life with a strong psychological impairment, a consistent loss of productivity and difficulties in social relationships and relationships: it is estimated, for example, that one out of five patients develops anxiety and / or depression and an equally considerable percentage of disturbances at the expense of the sexual sphere.

The average age of patients has dropped, also thanks to earlier diagnoses than in the past; the spread of unhealthy lifestyles, such as smoking habits, sedentary lifestyle, incorrect postures and lengthening of the average life span, are also favoring the chronicity of pain.

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