Tag Archives: Chronic Pain

National Arthritis Week: 12th – 18th October

Arthritis Research logo

In the UK, around 10 million people have arthritis.

Arthritis Research UK are a charity committed to preventing the onset of arthritis, developing a cure for arthritis and transforming the lives of those with arthritis.

This National Arthritis Week, you are asked to share your stories of living with arthritis to help more people get closer to living free from the pain of arthritis.

Arthritis Research are also raising awareness that on the 25th November, the Government will set out its spending plans for the country in the Comprehensive Spending Review. This will decide how much money is spent on everything: from welfare to healthcare, to support for research. They urge you to tell your MP they must fight for a fair deal for people with arthritis during the Spending Review. Register or sign in to email your MP, and give people with arthritis in your community the champion they need.

The fair deal that is being campaigned for is to make arthritis a public health priority, demanding a commitment  to protect and increase the amount of money councils receive to maintain the health of local resident. Protecting the welfare benefits for disabled people with arthritis and committing to protect and then increase investment in medical research to support the fight to cure arthritis.

You can lend your support to National Arthritis Week by sharing your story here. Your stories will be used to guide the research Arthritis Research UK fund in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Article By Arthritis Digest – Blood test for fibromyalgia moves a step closer

Image credit: Kim Strømstad

Image credit: Kim Strømstad

New research from King’s College London could lead to a reliable blood test for fibromyalgia, experts claim.

The team will examine samples and measurements taken from 400 twin volunteers, in which one twin has chronic widespread pain. The samples will be compared with the DNA of the healthy twin to establish the differences and identify biomarkers in the DNA associated with the condition.

“Currently there’s no blood test for fibromyalgia, which makes diagnosis difficult,” explains Dr Frances Williams, lead researcher. “And treatment is limited, and in many cases unsatisfactory.

“Our research will help patients in two ways. First it’ll contribute to our understanding of how fibromyalgia – and other chronic pain syndromes such as irritable bowel syndrome – develop, and point to pain pathways which we may not have suspected.

“Secondly, we hope it’ll lead to identification of a biomarker which we could work into a blood test.

“As well as enabling the condition to be diagnosed more effectively, it could help to ‘stratify’ patients into groups depending on disease severity, which will help in clinical trials of potential new treatments. It might even help us predict how the condition will progress.”

Fibromyalgia is common pain syndrome that causes muscle and bone pain, fatigue and disturbed sleep. It has no obvious physical cause and is difficult to diagnose, treat and manage.

Dr Natalie Carter, head of research liaison at Arthritis Research UK comments:

“Fibromyalgia is notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat, partly because we know so little about why it occurs and how it progresses. Being able to diagnose it would be a major step forward, and understanding more about the influence of genetics will allow us to develop treatments specifically for people with fibromyalgia in the future.”

Source: Arthritis Digest magazine, http://arthritisdigest.co.uk

Guest Article by Arthritis Digest – Brain Chemical Gives New Clues In Treating Chronic Pain

brain neuron  Birth Into Being

Image credit: Birth Into Being

A chemical in the brain usually associated with movement, reward-motivation behaviour and cognition may also play a role in promoting chronic pain, according to experts from The University of Texas in Dallas.

A research group followed the sequence of pain impulses travelling from the brain to the spinal cord in mice. They found that by removing a collection of neurons (called A11) that contain dopamine, chronic pain was diminished.

“These findings demonstrate a novel role for how dopamine contributes to maintaining chronic pain states,” explains Dr Ted Price who is involved in the research. “This may open up new opportunities to target medicines that could reverse chronic pain.”

We know that pain signals travel like electricity from an injury to the spinal cord where they pass pain signals to other cells. Those pain signals then travel upward and relay the information to neurons in the brain. There is no one pain centre in the brain, but experts believe that chronic pain may change how these pain centres are activated.

In people with chronic pain, neurons continue to send pain signals to the brain, even in the absence of injury. We don’t yet know why but it could be because of the A11 neurons. The current research found that these neurons didn’t affect acute pain, but they did have a profound effect on chronic pain. By targeting these neurons in mice with chronic pain, the researchers permanently reversed a chronic pain state.

“In future studies, we would like to gain a better understanding of how stress interacts with A11,” Dr Price says. “And we’d like to know more about the interaction between molecular mechanisms that promote chronic pain and dopamine.”

Source: Arthritis Digest magazine, http://arthritisdigest.co.uk