Visual illusion proves effective in relieving knee pain for people with osteoarthritis

In a new study published in the journal Peer J this week, researchers at UniSA’s Body in Mind Research Group have found people suffering osteoarthritis in the knees reported reduced pain when exposed to visual illusions that altered the size of their knees.

UniSA researcher and NHMRC Career Development Fellow, Dr Tasha Stanton says the research combined visual illusions and touch, with participants reporting up to a 40 per cent decrease in pain when presented with an illusion of the knee and lower leg elongated.

“We also found that the pain reduction was optimal when the illusion was repeated numerous times — that is, its analgesic effect was cumulative,” Dr Stanton says.

Full story at Science Daily

The Oldest Female BMX Racer in the Country Doesn’t Let Osteoarthritis Hold Her Back

I first fell in love with BMX racing after accepting a challenge from my son when I was in my 40s. He was an active BMX competitor, and after continual sideline coaching, he proclaimed, “If you think this is so easy, why don’t you try it?”

Never one to say no to a challenge, I accepted his offer and participated in my first race on Mother’s Day in 1988. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Now, at 69, I am the oldest female competitor in the sport in the United States, and although I’m competing against women nearly half my age, I don’t let that stop me.

Full story at US News

Link between immune function, osteoarthritic pain and progression

The immune system plays a pivotal role in the amount of pain and disease progression experienced by patients with osteoarthritis (OA), McMaster University researchers have found.

This discovery could lead to new strategies for improving joint pain management and immune function in older adults with arthritis.

The study, published in the medical journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, found that monocytes, the white blood cells necessary to regulate immune responses, were more activated and pro-inflammatory in women with osteoarthritis, and that elevated inflammation and body mass index were associated with this increased activation.

Full story at Science Daily

New genes linked to arthritis in bone marrow lesions

Researchers have found a pattern of genes which is characteristic of osteoarthritis and may be a step towards better treatments for this condition.

Pain is a major problem for people worldwide and arthritis is a major cause of chronic pain, especially in the elderly. Bone marrow lesions are parts of the bone which are linked to pain in osteoarthritis.

The genes found are involved in new nerve formation, pain sensitization, bone and cartilage renewal.

The lesions appear due to increased pressure on the joint and can be seen on MRI scans, but have never been investigated in this way before.

Full story at Science Daily

Hip osteoarthritis may not appear on x-ray

In the majority of cases, hip x-rays are not reliable for diagnosing hip osteoarthritis (OA), and can delay the treatment of this debilitating disease.

These findings are the first to evaluate the diagnostic performance of an x-ray in patients with clinical signs and symptoms of classic OA. The study appears in the British Medical Journal.

Hip osteoarthritis (OA) is a significant source of morbidity causing pain, difficulty walking, and disability. More than 330,000 hip replacements are performed in the U.S. at a huge cost to the healthcare system. The population of people over age 60 has more than doubled in the past 30 years, and the total cost of OA (both treatment and complications) amount to $185.5 billion annually and is expected to rise exponentially.

Researchers looked at the Framingham Osteoarthritis and Osteoarthritis Initiative studies, with nearly 4,500 participants. In the Framingham study, only 16 percent of patients with hip pain had radiographic hip OA, and only 21 percent of hips with radiographic OA had hip pain. Results of the Osteoarthritis Initiative were similar with nine percent and 24 percent, respectively. In both study populations, hip pain was not present in many patients with radiographic OA, and many with hip pain did not have imaging evidence of hip OA.

Full story of hip osteoarthritis and x-rays at Science Daily

Researchers question use of paracetamol for lower back pain and osteoarthritis

New research shows that paracetamol is ineffective in reducing pain, disability or improving quality of life for patients who suffer from low back pain or osteoarthritis of the hip or knee, and its use may affect the liver.

The study published in the British Medical Journalprovides new evidence that paracetamol is no better at treating low back pain than a placebo and its effect on osteoarthritis of the hip or knee is too small to be clinically worthwhile.

Lead author, Gustavo Machado of The George Institute and the University of Sydney says the results of this systematic review provide cause to review guidelines that endorse paracetamol for back pain and osteoarthritis.

Full story of paracetamol for back pain and osteoarthritis at Science Daily

Hip, knee replacements may boost cardiovascular health in osteoarthritis patients

Hip and knee replacements have long been known to reduce pain and increase mobility in persons with moderate-to-severe arthritis. A study presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) also found that total joint replacement (TJR) may reduce the risk for “cardiac events,” including heart attack and stroke, and boost long-term survival.

Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Osteoarthritisa progressive disease of the joints affecting a third of persons over the age of 65 causes pain and limits mobility.

Full story of replacements to boost health at Science Daily

Senior Focus: Healthy lifestyle pursuit is key in osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis affects more than 27 million Americans and is most common in those older than 50, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

The condition, often called wear-and-tear arthritis, results when protective cartilage on the ends of bones in joints wears down over time. While osteoarthritis can damage any joint in your body, the disorder most commonly affects joints in the neck, lower back, hands, knees and hips.

Unfortunately, all the reasons we develop osteoarthritis are not fully understood, and the number of older adults who have osteoarthritis appears to be growing each year.

Joint pain associated with osteoarthritis can make simple everyday activities feel like monumental undertakings. For example, the simple task of walking downstairs to get the laundry becomes painful and exhausting.

The pain and stiffness common with osteoarthritis causes a reduction of physical activity and quality of life for older adults. When you have osteoarthritis, it hurts to move, so you stop moving. On the other hand, inactivity weakens your joints and makes them less tolerant of normal everyday physical stressors like stair climbing.

Full story of senior osteoarthritis at St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Senior adapting to osteoarthritis

Senior Adapting to OsteoarthritisIt has taken awhile, but 75-year-old “Sally” has adapted to having osteoarthritis. She has been a widow many years and doesn’t want her real name published. A doctor diagnosed her with osteoarthritis about 10 years ago.

In a telephone interview, she said, “I don’t perceive myself as having problems getting around and yet at the same time I know I do. I began having difficulty getting around at age 70 and have slowed down quite a bit since.”

According to a National Institutes of Health website, osteoarthritis is “a joint disease that mostly affects cartilage.” Cartilage helps a person absorb the shock of movement (similar to a shock absorber in a car) and when cartilage wears away, the bones underneath it rub together. That rubbing can cause swelling, pain, and loss of motion in a joint.

Sally has adapted well. “For example, I have a toilet riser to help me get up off the seat,” she said. “To get up and down any steps, I need a railing, preferably on both sides. When I go out in winter weather, when there is ice, I wear special shoes for traction. And in the winter, I don’t go outside without my cane.”

Full story of senior and osteoarthritis at Tri County News

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