Determinants and Consequences of Pain and Fatigue in Osteoarthritis Using a Biopsychosocial Approach – New Emerging Team (NET)

People with osteoarthritis (OA) have identified pain and fatigue as having the greatest impact on the quality of their lives but are too often told that they’re just getting old – that these complaints are a normal part of aging. We believe this leads to major confusion and frustration among people with OA, and their health care practitioners, around how best to deal with these complaints, and has provided a plausible barrier to the conduct of applied research directed at understanding what causes these complaints, and how they might be relieved.

To address these gaps, we have assembled a team of individuals with common interests and expertise in pain, fatigue/sleep, mental health, aging and OA. This novel research program aims to find out how the common symptoms of OA, including pain, fatigue, mood and sleep quality impact the persons living with OA physically, psychologically and socially. We are exploring the inter-relationships among pain, fatigue, and mood and how these relate to other factors such as coping behaviours, access to care, family support, activity limitation, and use of established treatments for OA (medications, exercise, etc).

This research will result in major breakthroughs in our understanding of pain and fatigue in OA. In particular, this research will identify modifiable risk factors for pain and fatigue in OA, and thus will help the design and implementation of treatments targeted at these risk factors. In so doing, this research will ultimately lead to a reduction in the burden of illness in the population due to this very common condition, OA.

Our objectives are to:

  1. Increase our understanding of the experiences of OA pain and fatigue
  2. Increase our understanding and knowledge about the causes, consequences and time course of pain in OA
  3. Explore the inter-relationships among pain, fatigue, and mental health (in particular depression and anxiety) and how these relate to other factors such as coping behaviours, access to care, family support, activity limitation, and use of treatments for OA (medications, exercise, etc).
  4. Evaluate the contribution to pain and fatigue arising from unrecognized and untreated mental health disorders (depression and anxiety)
  5. Develop and promote an integrated research agenda among a diverse group of established, new, and emerging multidisciplinary investigators, consumers and clinicians
  • Murray BJ, Cheung C, French, MR, Gagliese LR, Davis AM, Hawker GA. Common sleep habits of older community-living people with osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum 2007; 56(9): S593.
Last modified: June 13, 2008