Journal of Neurology

, Volume 264, Issue 4, pp 758–769 | Cite as

Pain in Parkinson disease: a cross-sectional survey of its prevalence, specifics, and therapy

  • Carsten Buhmann
  • Nathalie Wrobel
  • Wiebke Grashorn
  • Odette Fruendt
  • Katharina Wesemann
  • Sabrina Diedrich
  • Ulrike Bingel
Original Communication


We aimed to evaluate prevalence, phenotype, and therapeutic realities of pain in patients with Parkinson disease (PD). Therefore, we assessed 181 outpatients with PD using a cross-sectional approach applying the German Pain Questionaire (DSF), the PainDetect, and a self-developed Parkinson Disease Pain Questionaire (UPDPQ) covering detailed therapeutic aspects. Furthermore, we investigated the association between pain and PD-disease characteristics, quality of life (PDQ-39), depression, and anxiety (HADS-D, HADS-A). Overall, prevalence of pain was high (95.4%); 91.1% suffered from chronic pain, but in only 22.3% of them, pain disorder was diagnosed. Pain impaired everyday-life moderately to very severely in 48.4% of patients and was the most distressing symptom in 10.2% of all patients. Pain was localized mainly in the back (71.4%) or joints (52.4%), frequently occurred as pain attacks (79%) but appeared with neuropathic character in only 15.3% of patients. Most patients (74.2%) received some kind of pain treatment, mainly provided by orthopedists (62.0%) or general practitioners (50.0%). Physiotherapy (61.3%), pain killers (54.4%), or massage (35.5%) were the most frequent therapeutic measures. Rehabilitative therapy (96.3%) and physiotherapy (89.5%) were rated as most effective, but with vastly temporary effects. 53.3% of patients attributed PD as the main cause for their pain, but only 33.6% found relief from anti-parkinsonian drugs. High levels of pain were associated with higher scores of depression and anxiety, and lower quality of life. Results suggest that pain in PD is frequent, complex, and quality-of-life-impairing but under-diagnosed and unsystematically treated and indicate need to systematically investigate pathophysiology-based treatment strategies.


Parkinson disease Pain Prevalence Therapy Quality of life 


Compliance with ethical standards

Financial disclosure/conflict of interest concerning the research related to the manuscript


Study funding

This work was supported by grants from the German Research Foundation (SFB936/1[UB]), the German Parkinson Foundation (Deutsche Parkinson Vereinigung (dpv) e.V. [WG, CB, UB]), and the LIIRA Grant by Pfizer (UB). The funders played no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Conflicts of interest

C Buhmann has received grants from the German Parkinson foundation (=Deutsche Parkinsonvereinigung dPV e.V.) and the Georg & Jürgen Rickertsen Stiftung Hamburg; he has received honoraria as speaker and scientific advisory board member from UCB and Zambon during the conduct of the study. Ulrike Bingel received grants from the dPV, BMBF (FK01GQ0808), Pfizer (LIIRA), German Research Foundation (SFB936), and received honoraria as a speaker from Grünenthal, Teva, Bionorica, Ipsen, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Allergan during the conduct of the study. Wiebke Grashorn received a grant from the dPV during the conduct of the study. N. Wrobel, O. Fruendt, K. Wesemann, and S. Dietrich have nothing to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Clinical NeuroscienceKarolinska Institutet171 77 Solna/StockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital Essen, University Duisburg-Essen45147 EssenGermany

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