Osteoarthritis May Play a Role in Social Isolation

When older adults become socially isolated, their health and well-being can suffer. Now a new study suggests a link between being socially isolated and osteoarthritis (arthritis), a condition that causes joint pain and can limit a person’s ability to get around.

The findings are published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Arthritis patients often have other health issues which may increase their risk of becoming socially isolated. These include anxiety and depression, being afraid to move around (because arthritis makes moving painful), physical inactivity and being unable to take care of themselves.

Full story at Psych Central

Smartphone study shows pain more likely on humid, windy days

People with long-term health conditions are 20 percent more likely to suffer from pain on days that are humid and windy with low atmospheric pressure according to new research from University of Manchester scientists.

The study, funded by Versus Arthritis, was based on the experience of people with conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine and neuropathic pain from across the UK.

According to the research, the most important factor associated with worsening pain is high relative humidity.

The study, called “Cloudy with a Chance of Pain,” ran throughout 2016 and recruited over 13,000 people from all 124 postcode areas of the UK, from Orkney to the Isles of Scilly.

Full story at Medical Xpress

Exercises and stretches for hip pain

There are many possible causes of hip pain, ranging from muscle strains and injuries to arthritis and inflammatory disorders. However, gently exercising the hips can often help relieve pain and restore mobility.

In this article, we describe 14 exercises that can help strengthen the hips, improve joint mobility, and relieve hip pain.

Considerations before starting

Flexibility and strength exercises are key to relieving hip pain. Although these exercises may result in temporary discomfort, they should not cause or aggravate pain. If an exercise causes pain, stop doing it or try going at a slower or gentler pace.

Full story at Medical News Today

More doctor visits can lower risk of suicide attempts in fibromyalgia patients

Fibromyalgia patients who regularly visit their physicians are much less likely to attempt suicide than those who do not, according to a new Vanderbilt University Medical Center study published in Arthritis Care & Research.

Patients who did not attempt suicide were at the doctor an average of 50 hours per year versus less than one hour per year for the group who committed self-harm, according to lead author Lindsey McKernan, PhD, assistant professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

“Fifty hours versus one hour – that’s a staggering difference,” McKernan said. “They might have been at one appointment in a year and this disorder, fibromyalgia, takes a lot to manage. It takes a lot of engagement.”

Full story at news-medical.net

Failed arthritis drug may prevent opioid addiction

A drug already proven safe for use in people may prevent opioid tolerance and physical dependence when used in combination with opioid-based pain medications, according to a new study in mice.

Researchers have discovered that a compound previously tested to treat osteoarthritis pain appears to block neuropathic pain and decrease signs of opioid dependence.

When drug manufacturer Eli Lilly and Co. conducted human trials of the drug to treat osteoarthritis pain, they found that the drug lacked efficacy. Researchers had not, however, tested the drug’s use in treating other kinds of pain and lessening opioid dependence.

Full story at Futurity

CDC: 40% of Patients With Arthritis Don’t Receive Exercise Counseling From Providers

Better, but still plenty of room for improvement—that’s the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) take on a recent analysis of the rate at which health care providers are counseling patients with arthritis to engage in physical activity (PA). The good news: the percentage of individuals with arthritis who received provider counseling for exercise grew by 17.6% between 2002 and 2014. The bad news: even after that growth, nearly 4 in 10 patients with arthritis still aren’t receiving any information from their providers on the benefits of PA.

The CDC analysis, which appeared in a recent edition of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, uses data from the National Health Interview Survey gathered in 2002 and 2014. In those years, the survey included a question on whether respondents had been told they have “arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia,” as well as a question asking whether “a doctor or other health professional [has] ever suggested physical activity or exercise to help your arthritis or joint symptoms?”

Full story at APTA

Study: For Individuals With Knee OA, 3 Tests Can Predict Ability to Walk 6k Steps a Day

Getting individuals with knee osteoarthritis (OA) to walk regularly is a crucial component in reducing knee pain, improving physical function, and staving off comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease. But how can a clinician know if a patient is capable of meeting minimum walking recommendations? Authors of a recent study believe it may come down to performance on 3 simple tests.

In a study of 1,925 participants with or at risk for knee OA, researchers sought to link performance on the 5 times sit-to-stand test, the 20-meter walk test, and the 400-meter walk test to walking patterns outside the clinic. Participants ranged in age from 56 to 74 years, with an average age of 65. The study was e-published ahead of print in Arthritis Care and Research.

Full story at APTA

Early signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disorder where a person’s immune system attacks their joints, causing them to become inflamed. What are the early signs of this condition?

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) typically affect the hands, wrists, and feet. Spotting signs of RA early could lead to an early diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Early and consistent management of arthritis can prevent joint damage and, ultimately, disability.

Full story at Medical News Today

CDC: 1 in 3 Rural Residents Has Arthritis; Over 50% of Those Experience Activity Limitations

America has an arthritis problem, and rural America is being hit especially hard—that’s the finding of a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that estimates nearly 1 in 3 rural residents in the US has some form of arthritis, with more than half of those with arthritis experiencing activity limitations.

The latest study, which appears in CDC’s May 25 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, describes the results of a detailed study of the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a survey of 426,361 noninstitutionalized adults across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Researchers asked respondents, “Have you ever been told by a doctor or other health professional that you have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia?” If the answer was “yes,” respondents were then asked, “Are you now limited in any way in any of your usual activities because of arthritis or joint symptoms?”

Full story of arthritis and activity limitations at APTA

Number of Americans Reporting Arthritis-Related Activity Limitations on the Rise

The overall prevalence of arthritis in the US may be about the same as it was 15 year ago, but its burden on Americans is worsening at a rapid pace—and in a particularly troubling way. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of Americans with arthritis who report that the condition limits their activities has jumped by 20% since 2002. It’s a trend the CDC believes can only be countered by “existing, underused, evidence-based interventions,” specifically interventions that promote physical activity, which the CDC describes as “a proven strategy for managing arthritis.”

In its report released March 7, the CDC analyzed results from 3 years of National Health Interview Surveys conducted between 2013 and 2015, focusing on respondents who reported arthritis (for the CDC, that includes osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, and fibromyalgia). The sample was balanced to reflect US population demographics, which allowed CDC to make overall estimates based on the results, and compared with statistics from 2002. Among the findings:

Full story of rising numbers in arthritis-related activity limitations at APTA