Comparison of chronic pain signs caused by interstitial cystitis versus lumbalgia

M.S. Stepanchenko, V.I. Romanenko


Background. Interstitial cystitis is still a poorly-diagnosed disease and one of the most common causes of chronic pelvic pain. Since pain in the back is one of the most common complaints during a visit to a doctor, comparing the features of chronic pain in heterogeneous (dissimilar) groups of patients may constitute clinical and scientific interest due to better understanding of the universal pathophysiological mechanisms of chronic pain syndrome in patients of different profile. Materials and methods. The study was conducted in outpatient setting with a total of 59 patients: 44 were diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, 15 had lumbalgia. For assessment of symptoms and impact on quality of life, patients of the first group were questioned using: Genitourinary Pain Index, O’Leary-Sant Questionnaire and Pelvic Pain and Urgency/Frequency Patient Symptom Scale. Pain evaluation in both groups was performed by Visual Analog Scale and McGill Questionnaire. Results. The intensity of pain in the first group (Visual Analog Scale) was 5.30 ± 1.13, whereas in patients with lumbalgia — 4.73 ± 0.88 (p = 0.058), no sex-dependent difference was found in both groups. The mean age of symptoms onset in patients of the first group predominated by more than 10 years (49.20 ± 10.41 years versus 38.33 ± 14.14 years, respectively, p = 0.013). The number of selected McGill questionnaire pain descriptors showed significant variability, but the average values did not differ significantly between groups (12.18 ± 5.81 versus 10.73 ± 5.11, p = 0.368). Most frequently selected descriptors in the first group were: aching (93.2 %) and pulling (77.3 %); in patients with lumbalgia — pulling (100.0 %) and twisting (66.7 %). A strong correlation relationship (r = 0.71) was found between the groups by the frequency of the most common pain characteristics selection. Conclusions. The revealed common features of chronic pain syndrome between groups included the choice of similar McGill grade pain descriptors. Ho­wever, the intensity of pain in the first group was slightly prevailing, despite the increased duration of disease in patients with lumbalgia. This consequently requires additional study of the comparable groups with homogenized duration of symptoms.


interstitial cystitis; lumbalgia; chronic pelvic pain; chronic pain syndrome


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