- Article: Swift A (2012) Osteoarthritis 1: physiology, risk factors and causes of pain. Nursing Times; 108: 7, 12-15.
- Author: Amelia Swift is a lecturer in nursing at the University of Birmingham. Part One in a series of three on osteoarthritis
This article will tell you about:
- What osteoarthritis (OA) is, its prevalence, and risk factors for development
- Diagnosis of OA based on its effects on bone, cartilage and other components of synovial joints
- The physiological process by which inflammation and pain are created
- The roles of specific neurotransmitters in the pathophysiology of OA
You would be likely to reference this article if you were researching:
- Neurotransmitters and processes of pain and inflammation
- Central sensitisation
In what situations will this article be useful to me?
This article will be useful to you in understanding osteoarthritis. You may care for patients specifically because of their OA or it may be additional to the condition that they are being treated for. This article covers a wide range of topics, including diagnosis, causes of pain, and chemical mediators. An understanding of the pathophysiology (pain, inflammation) presented will be important in treating patients. Discussion of risk-factors and prevalence with patients could also be useful in decreasing the chance of developing and controlling symptoms.
Questions for your mentor/tutor:
- How can an understanding of the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis improve my ability to care for patients?
- How should I address risk factors in discussion with patients for the prevention of osteoarthritis?
Student NT Decoder:
Osteoarthritis (OA): a synovial joint disorder involving cartilage, bone and the synovial membrane. Diagnosed from a persistent history of pain, stiffness and loss of function. OA is different from Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and one key distinguishing factor is the degree of inflammation. In OA, inflammation is generally less. Both OA and RA affect synovial joints.
Neurotransmitter: a chemical signal that transmits a message from one neuron to a target cell across a synapse (for example glutamate).
Nociceptor: a sensory nerve receptor that responds to damaging or potentially damaging stimulation (chemical, thermal or mechanical).
Synovium: also known as the synovial membrane. It is a layer of tissues a few cells thick that lines the joint and the tendon sheath. It protects the joint by acting as a selective barrier and produces lubrication for the joint.
Other articles you might find useful:
- Rheumatoid arthritis 1: background, symptoms and ensuring prompt diagnosis and treatment
- The management of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- New guidance on osteoarthritis focuses on patient education