Pain and Arthritis Newsletter
May 3, 2010

Worth Quoting
"It doesn't hurt to be optimistic. You can always cry later. "

--Lucimar Santos de Lima


In This Issue
• Scientists Discover Substance That Causes Pain
• Botox Injections May Relieve Tennis Elbow Pain
• Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
 

Scientists Discover Substance That Causes Pain


WEDNESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- The human body produces a substance similar to capsaicin -- which makes chili peppers hot -- at sites of pain, and blocking production of this substance can ease pain, a new study shows.

The findings may lead to the development of non-addictive painkillers, according to the researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

In work with mice, the scientists found that a family of fatty acids called oxidized linoleic acid metabolites (OLAMs) play an important role in the biology of pain.

"This is a major breakthrough in understanding the mechanisms of pain and how to more effectively treat it," senior investigator Kenneth Hargreaves, chair of the Department of Endodontics in the Dental School at the UT Health Sciences Center, said in an UT news release.

"These data demonstrate, for the first time, that OLAMs constitute a new family of naturally occurring capsaicin-like agents, and may explain the role of these substances in many pain conditions. This hypothesis suggests that agents blocking either the production or action of these substances could lead to new therapies and pharmacological interventions for various inflammatory diseases and pain disorders such as arthritis, fibromyalgia and others, including pain associated with cancer."

The researchers developed two new classes of analgesic drugs that target OLAMs.

"Nearly everyone will experience persistent pain at some point in their lifetime," Dr. Hargreaves said. "Our findings are truly exciting because they will offer physicians, dentists and patients more options in prescription pain medications. In addition, they may help circumvent the problem of addiction and dependency to pain medications, and will have the potential to benefit millions of people who suffer from chronic pain every day."

The research was published April 26 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about pain.


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Botox Injections May Relieve Tennis Elbow Pain


MONDAY, April 26 (HealthDay News) -- Botulinum toxin, which smoothes facial wrinkles through injections of the drug Botox, can also help people who suffer from "tennis elbow," a new study finds.

But the researchers warn that it must be injected carefully, and there's a potentially nettlesome side effect, according to the report published online April 26 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Researchers at the Imam Khomeini Hospital Complex at Tehran University in Iran gave botulinum toxin injections to 48 patients with tennis elbow who hadn't been helped by previous treatments. Tennis elbow, which causes pain and inflammation in the upper arm near the elbow, affects some people who repeatedly move their wrists or forearms while taking part in activities like tennis.

The researchers customized the injection sites based on the length of each patient's forearm instead of giving injections at the same location in each person. Giving the injection at the same location can lead to insufficient paralysis, Dr. S.M. Javad Mortazavi and colleagues explained.

The treatment reduced pain but also reduced strength levels in the patients, the study authors found. They also pointed out that the treatment isn't appropriate for patients who need to extend their fingers, and added that more research is needed to figure out whether the treatment relieves pain after four months.

In an accompanying commentary, Dr. Rachelle Buchbinder, of Monash University in Australia, wrote that tennis elbow can cause disability and require workers to take sick leave. There's still much that's not known about botulinum toxin as a treatment for the condition, Buchbinder added, and patients may be unhappy if they suffer from a side effect: the partial loss of the ability to move their third and fourth fingers.

More information

For more about tennis elbow, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.


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Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips


FRIDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Martial arts training appears to be a safe way to teach osteoporosis patients how to reduce the risk of injury when they fall, a new study suggests.

Researchers in the Netherlands studied the potential benefits of fall training in six healthy people.

"For obvious safety reasons, this could not be directly assessed using persons with osteoporosis. Therefore, we measured the hip impact forces during the martial arts fall exercises in a group of young adults," researcher Brenda Groen said in a news release.

"Based on our results ... we believe that fall training would be safe for persons with osteoporosis if they wear hip protectors during the training, perform fall exercises on a thick mattress, and avoid forward fall exercises from a standing position," she said.

The volunteers in this study were taught how to turn a fall into a rolling movement by bending and twisting the torso and neck. These types of moves can be taught to older people, the researchers said.

"Since martial arts techniques reduce hip impact forces and can be learned by older persons, martial arts fall training may prevent hip fractures among persons with osteoporosis," Groen concluded.

The study was published April 21 in the journal BMC Research Notes.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about falls and older adults.


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