OSTEOARTHRITIS: IN THE JOINTS OR IN THE BRAIN?
Osteoarthritis is primarily a joint disorder, yet increasing evidence suggests that at least an important subgroup
of the osteoarthritis population have dysfunctions in the pain mechanisms orchestrated by the brain.
Indeed, many patients with osteoarthritis show evidence of hyperexcitability of the central nervous system,
often referred to as central sensitization.
In osteoarthritis patients having central sensitization, the dysfunctional pain mechanisms are often more important
than the joint problems.
Hence, the dysfunctional pain mechanisms should become (part of) the treatment focus in such osteoarthritis patients.
Pain in Motion researcher Enrique Lluch (University of Valencia, Spain in collaboration with
the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium) has now published a perspective article in one of the leading journals
in the field of rehabilitation and physiotherapy (Physical Therapy journal).
In that paper, Enrique provides new compelling therapeutic avenues for targeting the brain
(as the primary source for the dysfunctional pain mechanisms) rather than solely focusing on joint problems
in patients with osteoarthritis and central sensitization.
Lluch Girbés E, Nijs J, Torres-Cueco R, López Cubas C.
Pain treatment for patients with osteoarthritis and central sensitization.
Physical Therapy 2013;93(6):842-51.