Inconsistent pain: The bane of arthritis sufferers

Arthritis comes in many flavours but in general is a condition which affects the joints and affects the elderly at a greater rate than other generations. However, arthritis can affect anyone and it’s not just the old who suffer from this inflammation of the joints and the pain associated with it. Kids have been known to suffer from arthritis and if you’re a repeatedly straining any joint during a sport or other physical activity then you’re at risk too and it could only be a matter of time.

Scientists have recently defined a feature of rheumatoid arthritis which until not long ago perplexed them a great deal. It was always a puzzle why people with, what may appear to be a, a non-severe stage of inflammation of the joints suffer from an inconsistent level of pain. They’ll be in agony before the arthritis is nearly as bad as it could be. It’s only in the last few months the connection has been found and an explanation has been forged.

A form of pain amplification occurs due to the fact that conditioned pain modulation (CPM), which is a feature of the nervous system that helps us to modulated the levels of pain we feel, diminishes and causes the pain we feel to be way more potent than it should be. This isn’t just true of pain that rheumatoid arthritis sufferers will have in the joints, it could well be that the slightest touches on certain areas of their skin could start to cause them pain too.

It’s still not 100% clear why and how arthritis affects the nervous system in such a profound way but it’s an area which is receiving a lot of attention and we could see progress in the next year or so and a solution this mystery at last.

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