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      Do we need a third mechanistic descriptor for chronic pain states?

      Pain

      Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)

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          Most cited references 39

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          Chronic back pain is associated with decreased prefrontal and thalamic gray matter density.

          The role of the brain in chronic pain conditions remains speculative. We compared brain morphology of 26 chronic back pain (CBP) patients to matched control subjects, using magnetic resonance imaging brain scan data and automated analysis techniques. CBP patients were divided into neuropathic, exhibiting pain because of sciatic nerve damage, and non-neuropathic groups. Pain-related characteristics were correlated to morphometric measures. Neocortical gray matter volume was compared after skull normalization. Patients with CBP showed 5-11% less neocortical gray matter volume than control subjects. The magnitude of this decrease is equivalent to the gray matter volume lost in 10-20 years of normal aging. The decreased volume was related to pain duration, indicating a 1.3 cm3 loss of gray matter for every year of chronic pain. Regional gray matter density in 17 CBP patients was compared with matched controls using voxel-based morphometry and nonparametric statistics. Gray matter density was reduced in bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and right thalamus and was strongly related to pain characteristics in a pattern distinct for neuropathic and non-neuropathic CBP. Our results imply that CBP is accompanied by brain atrophy and suggest that the pathophysiology of chronic pain includes thalamocortical processes.
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            Pathogenesis and management of pain in osteoarthritis.

            The term osteoarthritis describes a common, age-related, heterogeneous group of disorders characterised pathologically by focal areas of loss of articular cartilage in synovial joints, associated with varying degrees of osteophyte formation, subchondral bone change, and synovitis. Joint damage is caused by a mixture of systemic factors that predispose to the disease, and local mechanical factors that dictate its distribution and severity. Various genetic abnormalities have been described, but most sporadic osteoarthritis probably depends on minor contributions from several genetic loci. Osteoarthritic joint damage may be associated with clinical problems, but the severity of joint disease is only weakly related to that of the clinical problem. For this reason the associations and pathogenesis of pain are in as much need of investigation as joint damage. Subchondral bone and synovium may be responsible for nociceptive stimuli, and peripheral neuronal sensitisation is an important feature, and can result in normal activities (such as walking) causing pain. Central pain sensitisation can also occur, and psychosocial factors are important determinants of pain severity. We present a stepwise approach to the management of osteoarthritis.
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              Sensitization in patients with painful knee osteoarthritis.

              Pain is the dominant symptom in osteoarthritis (OA) and sensitization may contribute to the pain severity. This study investigated the role of sensitization in patients with painful knee OA by measuring (1) pressure pain thresholds (PPTs); (2) spreading sensitization; (3) temporal summation to repeated pressure pain stimulation; (4) pain responses after intramuscular hypertonic saline; and (5) pressure pain modulation by heterotopic descending noxious inhibitory control (DNIC). Forty-eight patients with different degrees of knee OA and twenty-four age- and sex-matched control subjects participated. The patients were separated into strong/severe (VAS>or=6) and mild/moderate pain (VAS<6) groups. PPTs were measured from the peripatellar region, tibialis anterior (TA) and extensor carpi radialis longus muscles before, during and after DNIC. Temporal summation to pressure was measured at the most painful site in the peripatellar region and over TA. Patients with severely painful OA pain have significantly lower PPT than controls. For all locations (knee, leg, and arm) significantly negative correlations between VAS and PPT were found (more pain, more sensitization). OA patients showed a significant facilitation of temporal summation from both the knee and TA and had significantly less DNIC as compared with controls. No correlations were found between standard radiological findings and clinical/experimental pain parameters. However, patients with lesions in the lateral tibiofemoral knee compartment had higher pain ratings compared with those with intercondylar and medial lesions. This study highlights the importance of central sensitization as an important manifestation in knee OA.
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                Journal
                26835783
                10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000507

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