Are Biochemical Biomarkers Associated with Musculoskeletal Pain?

multiple site pain
Pain in a man’s body on a gray background. Collage of several photos with red dots

A recent study published in the Journal of Pain Research attempts to determine if biochemical biomarkers can “provide insight into musculoskeletal pain reported at individual or multiple body sites.”  Their analysis included 689 participants self-reporting symptoms like pain, aching and stiffness on any of the following body sites:

  • Neck
  • Upper back/thoracic
  • Low back
  • Shoulders
  • Elbows
  • Wrist
  • Hands
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Feet

The study found that “biomarkers of inflammation (HA, OPG, IL-6 and CXCL-6), pain (NPY) and PPT [pressure-pain threshold] may help to understand the etiology of single and multiple pain sites.”  Additionally, individuals with “multiple pain sites had significantly lower PPT thresholds (higher pain sensitivity) than those without pain or only a single site pain… This finding indicates that those experiencing multiple pain sites may have increased pain sensitivity and altered pain processing.  Increased pain sensitivity often leads to worse outcomes and additional healthcare needs, so it is vital to identify objective measures to facilitate identification of individuals experiencing altered pain processing early in order to target appropriate treatment interventions.”

Read the full article here.