Abstract: Objective: To investigate the association between demographic, clinical, psychological, cognitive, and health-related variables and the Central Sensitization Inventory (CSI) in previously hospitalized COVID-19 survivors exhibiting "de novo" post-COVID pain.
Methods: Seventy-seven (n = 77) COVID-19 survivors with "de novo" post-COVID pain completed demographic (age, height, and weight), clinical (duration and intensity of the pain), psychological (depressive/anxiety levels and sleep quality), cognitive (catastrophizing and kinesiophobia levels), and health-related quality of life variables as well as the CSI. A multivariable correlation analysis was conducted to determine the association between variables, and a stepwise multiple linear regression model was performed to identify CSI predictors.
Results: Patients were assessed a mean of 6.0 (SD 0.8) months after hospital discharge. Twenty-six (33.7%) individuals showed indications of sensitization-associated symptoms (CSI score ?40 points). The CSI score was positively associated with pain intensity (r: 0.371), anxiety (r: 0.784), depressive (r: 0.709), catastrophizing (r: 0.620), and kinesiophobia (r: 0.359) levels (all, p < 0.001). The stepwise regression analysis revealed that 60.2% of CSI was explained by anxiety levels and pain intensity.
Conclusion: This study found that psychological and cognitive variables were associated with the CSI score in previously hospitalized COVID-19 survivors with "de novo" post-COVID pain. Anxiety levels and the intensity of pain symptoms were independently associated with CSI score suggesting a significant overlap with psychological construct. The "de novo" post-COVID pain association with CSI may indicate changes in the pain processing important for managing the pain.
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