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12-05-2017 | Rheumatology | News | Article

Pain sensitization associated with RA disease activity

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medwireNews: High pain sensitization is associated with elevated measures of disease activity among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), study results suggest.

The researchers found that lower pressure pain thresholds (PPTs), indicating increased pain sensitization, were associated with higher Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) scores after adjustment for potentially confounding factors, with beta coefficients of –2.66, –1.58, –1.29, and –3.30 for PPTs measured at the wrist, knee, thumbnail, and trapezius, respectively.

Furthermore, high temporal summation at the forearm – a measure of central sensitization – was significantly associated with high CDAI scores, as well as tender joint counts, patient global assessment, and evaluator global assessment measures.

“These findings suggest that pain sensitization, reflected by low PPTs and high temporal summation, may contribute to amplification of patient assessment of disease activity and tender joint count, as well as a perception of higher activity by the evaluator,” say Yvonne Lee (Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) and study co-authors in Arthritis Care & Research.

“This study is the first to report associations between temporal summation at the forearm” and measures of RA disease activity, they add.

And the team concludes that future research should assess “the clinical impact of pain sensitization on the efficacy of RA treatment.”

By Claire Barnard

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2017 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group