Arthritis

Updated 17 December 2015

Depression boosts arthritis pain

Depression can worsen the pain of knee arthritis, a new study finds.

0

South Korean researchers used X-rays to assess the severity of knee osteoarthritis in 660 men and women, aged 65 and older. The patients were also evaluated for the severity of their symptoms and for depression.

As expected, levels of pain were higher in patients whose X-rays showed greater joint damage. However, the researchers also found that depression was associated with an increase in pain in patients with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis, even when significant joint damage was not evident in the X-ray image.

The findings are published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Symptoms worse than X-ray shows

"Knee osteoarthritis is a common cause of pain and impairment in older adults. Often, the level of arthritic symptoms reported by patients is much more severe than what is represented by X-rays, which can make it difficult for the doctor to treat," study author Dr Tae Kyun Kim, director of the division of knee surgery and sports medicine at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital's Joint Reconstruction Center, said.

"The results of this study indicate that depression can play a major role in the way patients experience the symptoms of knee arthritis, and that even when X-rays show the arthritis is not severe, patients with depression may report significant pain," Kim said.

"The relationship between pain and depression suggests that both should be considered by physicians when treating patients with knee osteoarthritis, particularly in those with X-rays not indicating severe damage to the joint," Kim added.

Kim also noted that some patients with knee osteoarthritis still experience pain and impaired movement after undergoing knee replacement surgery.

"Sometimes pain and disability after surgery is medically unexplained, so in these patients screening for depression might be a very good option," Kim suggested.

According to the US National Institute of Mental Health, depression often goes undiagnosed in the elderly.


(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)


Read more:

Symptoms of depression

Treating depression

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Arthritis expert

Professor Asgar Ali Kalla completed his MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 1975 at the University of Cape Town and his FRCP in 2003 in London. Professor Ali Kalla is the Isaac Albow Chair of Rheumatology at the University of Cape Town and also the Head of Division of Rheumatology at Groote Schuur Hospital. He has participated in a number of clinical trials for rheumatology and is active in community outreach. Prof Ali Kalla is an expert in Arthritis for Health24.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules