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Pain Symptoms in Patients with Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): A Literature Review

Authors Weng LM, Su X, Wang XQ

Received 14 November 2020

Accepted for publication 12 January 2021

Published 26 January 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 147—159


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael A Überall

Lin-Man Weng,1,* Xuan Su,1,* Xue-Qiang Wang1,2

1Department of Sport Rehabilitation, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Shanghai Shangti Orthopaedic Hospital, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Xue-Qiang Wang
Department of Sport Rehabilitation, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
Tel/Fax +86 02165503470

Purpose: On 11 March, 2020, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak was declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. It brought substantial physical and psychological burden on individuals and financial loss across countries. Patients with COVID-19 may exhibit various symptoms, such as fever, cough, dyspnea, muscle pain, sore throat, headache, chest pain, and abdominal pain, at 2– 14 days after exposure to the novel coronavirus (severe acute respiratory syndrome [SARS]-CoV-2). Pain symptoms present important challenge to clinicians’ diagnosis when treating COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms. Considering the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the pain symptoms should be systematically summarized.
Results: The virus can invade different tissues of the body and cause different pain manifestations. SARS-CoV-2 primarily invades the respiratory system, and patients develop sore throat, fever, cough, and other pneumonia-associated symptoms. Moreover, it infects the nervous system (eg, headache, dizziness, and confusion), digestive system (eg, abdominal pain, diarrhea), and cardiovascular system (eg, chest pain, palmus, and cardiac injury). The incidence rate is 1.7– 33.9% for headache, 0.7– 47.1% for sore throat, 1.5– 61.0% for myalgia/arthralgia, 1.6– 17.7% for chest pain, and 1.9– 14.5% for abdominal pain. In comparison with chest and abdominal pain, COVID-19 patients are more likely to develop headache, sore throat, and myalgia/arthralgia.
Conclusion: Different pain reflects the damage of different body systems. Therefore, the summary of pain symptoms for COVID-19 patients can help doctors improve the accuracy and efficiency of diagnosis when treating COVID-19 patients with atypical or mild symptoms and adopt more targeted treatment methods.

Keywords: pain, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, symptom

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