What is the typical presentation of pain in Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS)?

Updated: Jul 14, 2021
  • Author: Michael T Andary, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Milton J Klein, DO, MBA  more...
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Pain is most severe in the shoulder girdle, back, buttocks, and thighs and may occur with even the slightest movements. The pain is often described as aching or throbbing in nature.

Dysesthetic symptoms are observed in approximately 50% of patients during the course of their illness. Dysesthesias frequently are described as burning, tingling, or shocklike sensations and are often more prevalent in the lower extremities than in the upper extremities. Dysesthesias may persist indefinitely in 5-10% of patients.

Other pain syndromes in GBS include the following:

  • Myalgic complaints, with cramping and local muscle tenderness

  • Visceral pain

  • Pain associated with conditions of immobility (eg, pressure nerve palsies, decubitus ulcers)

The intensity of pain on admission correlates poorly with neurologic disability on admission and with the end outcome.

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