Publication date: Jan 19, 2024
COVID-19 is a highly transmissible disease that can result in long-term symptoms, including chronic pain. However, the mechanisms behind the persistence of long-COVID pain are not yet fully elucidated, highlighting the need for further research to establish causality. Mendelian randomization (MR), a statistical technique for determining a causal relationship between exposure and outcome, has been employed in this study to investigate the association between COVID-19 and chronic pain. The IVW, MR Egger, and weighted median methods were employed. Heterogeneity was evaluated using Cochran’s Q statistic. MR Egger intercept and MR-PRESSO tests were performed to detect pleiotropy. The Bonferroni method was employed for the correction of multiple testing. R software was used for all statistical analyses. Based on the IVW method, hospitalized COVID-19 patients exhibit a higher risk of experiencing lower leg joint pain compared to the normal population. Meanwhile, the associations between COVID-19 hospitalization and back pain, headache, and pain all over the body were suggestive. Additionally, COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization were found to have a suggestive higher risk of experiencing neck or shoulder pain and pain all over the body compared to those who did not require hospitalization. Patients with severe respiratory-confirmed COVID-19 showed a suggestive increased risk of experiencing pain all over the body compared to the normal population. Our study highlights the link between COVID-19 severity and pain in different body regions, with implications for targeted interventions to reduce COVID-19 induced chronic pain burden.
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