Why folks with knee osteoarthritis expertise completely different sorts of ache

Why people with knee osteoarthritis experience different kinds of pain

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Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the world, affecting more than 300 million people. It causes significant pain, functional limitations and disabilities in patients.

The experience of pain in people with knee osteoarthritis changes over time. Initially, people mainly suffer from exercise-related pain such as jogging and climbing stairs. Over time, the pain becomes more persistent and can flare up unpredictably.

To better understand why this change in pain experience occurs, researchers from Boston University Medical Schools (BUSM) and public health reviewed data from the multicenter osteoarthritis study on the pain experience of 2,794 older adults with or at risk for knee osteoarthritis . They found that people who were more sensitive to pain were more likely to experience constant and unpredictable pain than just temporary pain. This study identified, for the first time, a possible underlying mechanism in the nervous system that is responsible for why people experience different pain patterns with knee osteoarthritis.

"Our results support the clinical relevance of neurobiological mechanisms that influence the experience of pain in knee osteoarthritis, including not only the severity of the pain, but also whether the pain is intermittent or constant, and whether the pain is unpredictable," said lead author Tuhina Neogi. MD, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine.

By understanding the various mechanisms that contribute to the experience of pain in knee osteoarthritis, healthcare providers can begin to tailor pain management to each patient. For example, if a patient is sensitized to pain, therapies that can alter the signaling pathways of the nervous system can be helpful. This would improve the current "one-size-fits-all" approach, where each patient is started with the same treatment and then switched to something else if the first approach doesn't work.

"By understanding these mechanisms, finding ways to identify these mechanisms in the clinic, and developing treatments that target these mechanisms, we can provide better management options for millions of people with osteoarthritis worldwide," said Dr. Neogi.

These results appear online in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

Bone medication can be beneficial for knee osteoarthritis

More information:
Lisa C. Carlesso et al., Association for Pain Sensitization and Conditioned Pain Modulation in Pain Patterns in Knee Osteoarthritis, Arthritis Care & Research (2020). DOI: 10.1002 / acr.24437

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Boston University School of Medicine

Study: Why People With Knee Osteoarthritis Have Different Types of Pain (2020, Sep 5)
accessed on September 6, 2020
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