Arthritis changes pain receptors

26 October 2015

Researchers at the University of Manchester have discovered that the number of opiate receptors in the brain can increase in response to chronic pain conditions such as arthritis.

These receptors can respond to both outside sources of pain relief such as morphine, or those produced by the body, which includes endorphins. The researchers found that the more opiate receptors a person had, the more able they were to withstand pain.

Lead researcher Christopher Brown said: "Although the mechanisms of these adaptive changes are unknown, if we can understand how we can enhance them, we may find ways of naturally increasing resilience to pain without the side effects associated with many pain killing drugs."

Around 20 per cent of GP consultations are in relation to chronic pain conditions (defined as pain that persists for more than six months), which reflects the number of people who are affected by this problem - approximately 46 per cent of the UK population.

Posted by Philip Briggs


 

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