Decrease in Pain Perception During Acute SARS-CoV-2 Infection

A Case Series

Lisa Hentsch; Patrick Stancu; Gilles Allali; Karl-Olof Lövblad; Johannes A. Lobrinus; Sara Cocetta; Sophie Pautex; Marjolaine Uginet; Jacques Serratrice; Matteo Coen


Pain. 2022;163(6):1019-1022. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Many reports have described pain appearance or an increase of chronic pain concomitant to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection. Here, we describe the cases of 3 patients with chronic cancer pain, in which COVID-19 was associated with a dramatic reduction or disappearance of pain. Pain reappeared after recovery from COVID-19. Neurological imaging and pathological findings, when available, were inconclusive. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case series reporting an acute reduction in pain perception in COVID-19. We believe further investigation is mandatory because it could shed new light on the mechanisms of pain perception and modulation.


Several COVID-19–related factors (mainly social and psychological) can worsen chronic pain and contribute to pain chronification.[8,12] On the contrary, in this case series, we describe 3 patients with cancer-related chronic pain who reported significant pain reduction during the acute phase of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. This case series further reinforces our seminal observation of chronic pain blunting in the context of acute COVID-19 illness.[7] Moreover, it extends the range of possible pathophysiological mechanisms involved in the neurological manifestations of COVID-19.