Pain in multiple system atrophy and progressive supranuclear palsy compared to Parkinson's disease

Lewis Kass-Iliyya, Christopher Kobylecki, Kathryn R McDonald, Alexander Gerhard, Monty A Silverdale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Pain is a common nonmotor symptom in Parkinson's disease (PD). The pathophysiology of pain in PD is not well understood. Pain characteristics have rarely been studied in atypical parkinsonian disorders such as Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP).

AIM OF THE STUDY: We aimed to evaluate pain intensity, location, and associated symptoms in atypical parkinsonian disorders compared to PD.

METHODS: Twenty-one patients with MSA, 16 patients with PSP, and 65 patients with PD were screened for pain using question 1.9 of the MDS-UPDRS. Pain intensity was quantified using the short form McGill Pain Questionnaire (SFMPQ). Pain locations were documented. Motor disability was measured using UPDRS-III. Affective symptoms were assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).

RESULTS: Pain was significantly more common and more severe in PD and MSA compared to PSP (P < 0.01). Pain locations were similar with limb pain being the most common followed by neck and back pain. Pain intensity correlated with HADS scores but not motor severity.

CONCLUSIONS: Pain is more common and more intense in PD and MSA than PSP. Differences in distribution of neurodegenerative pathologies may underlie these differential pain profiles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e00320
JournalBrain and Behavior
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple System Atrophy/physiopathology
  • Pain/physiopathology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Parkinson Disease/physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive/physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


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