A new questionnaire for detecting central pain sensitisation in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Disease - Rheumatoid arthritis

Lead applicant - Professor David Walsh

Organisation - University of Nottingham

Type of grant - Pain Challenge Full 2019

Status of grant - Pending start date from 1 December 2020

Amount of the original award - £160,812.62

Start date - 1 September 2020

Reference - 22462

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

This research aims to develop and test a new questionnaire (called CAP-RA), to detect and measure central pain sensitisation in people with rheumatoid arthritis. Central pain sensitisation is when the central nervous system (brain and spine) becomes overly sensitive, which can make pain much worse. This can contribute to pain persistence and severity, even when arthritis has been treated. Researchers hope to determine if the questionnaire can reliably identify central sensitisation, predict those who are likely to suffer from persistent pain, and identify people who might benefit from extra support to manage their pain.

Why is this research important? 

Pain remains an unmet need in people with rheumatoid arthritis, even in those responding well to treatment. Current treatments for rheumatoid arthritis target inflammation, and treatments targeting central pain sensitisation are yet to be tested. Before this testing can take place, researchers need to better establish better ways of measuring central pain sensitisation. Researchers have already shown that a short questionnaire successfully measured central pain sensitisation in people with knee pain and aim to adapt this questionnaire for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

How will the findings benefit patients?   

The researchers hope that this simple questionnaire could help to identify people with rheumatoid arthritis whose pain is caused by central sensitisation, and who may still experience pain despite anti-inflammatory treatments. Those identified could be selected for clinical trials in the future to help develop new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis pain, or to improve pain management.