Links found between long-term cough and long-term pain

A summary of research published in the European Respiratory Journal

Long-term, or chronic, cough is a cough lasting longer than 8 weeks. It is a common medical condition, affecting about 1 in 10 people worldwide. However, there are limited treatment options available. There is new evidence that this long-term condition could share similarities with long-term pain. Although these are two different conditions, they could have similar origins or triggers in the body or be caused by similar risk factors.

A new study assessed the similarities between the two conditions in a group of middle-aged and elderly people in the Netherlands.

What did the study look at?

The researchers used data from a large study, which collected information from people who share similar characteristics. Information is collected through surveys and medical tests every 4-5 years.

What do the results show?

Out of 7,141 people included in this study, 3,888 people reported chronic pain.

Key findings included:

  • 4.4% experienced chronic pain and chronic cough at the same time on a daily basis.
  • It was more common for women to experience daily chronic pain and chronic cough.
  • Cough was more common in people with regular chronic pain compared to those without.
  • People with chronic cough had a higher risk of developing chronic pain.

Why is this important?

The researchers conclude that chronic cough and chronic pain are linked to each other. Both have a potential impact on the development of the other condition. This suggests that both conditions might also be caused by similar risk factors, or have similar triggers in the body. This finding is useful for healthcare professionals when they assess people who may be experiencing one or both conditions.

Read the original research paper

Title: The interrelatedness of chronic cough and chronic pain