Results of a study conducted by Canadian investigators has found an association between the severity of localized pain in patients at risk for knee osteoarthritis and the later development of widespread pain. By contrast, structural damage resulting from knee OA was not significantly associated with increased risk for developing widespread pain. The findings are significant, according to the authors, because they may point to the development of more finely targeted interventions to manage widespread pain, the etiology of which has been poorly understood. Widespread pain was defined as "pain above and below the waist, on both sides of the body and axially, using a standard homunculus, excluding knee pain." The findings were published last month in Arthritis Care & Research.
The Multicenter Osteoarthritis (MOST) Study is a longitudinal cohort of persons with or at risk of knee OA. 1129 participants were characterized according to consistent frequent knee pain (CFKP), radiographic osteoarthritis (ROA), symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (SxOA), and knee pain severity after 60 months (baseline). The study sought to determine the relationship, if any, of each of these phenotypes to the risk for incident widespread pain, defined as the presence of widespread pain at 84 months among those who didn't meet widespread pain criteria at 60 months. Neither CFKP, ROA, nor SxOA—independent of pain severity—was significantly associated with the development of widespread pain. "These findings highlight the importance of pain symptomology as an important factor that can contribute to the onset of WSP, suggesting a possible role for sensitization and the importance of adequately managing pain symptoms," the authors conclude.
Read more about the findings here.
The journal abstract may be read here.