PainSci summary of Younes 2009?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.
Surprisingly, disease-driven erosion of cervical joints can be painless. Rheumatoid arthritis — a nasty disease, quite different from garden variety “wear and tear” osteoarthritis — commonly attacks the joints of the neck, causing significant deformity of the joints. Although this does often cause severe pain, it doesn’t always: this study reports that 17% of 29 patients were asymptomatic, even with substantial joint degradation revealed by MRI, CT, or X-ray.
Another important finding of this study: whether it hurts or not, the cervical spine was damaged in 75% of patients: “Cervical spine involvement is common and may be asymptomatic, indicating that routine cervical spine imaging is indicated in patients with RA.”
~ Paul Ingraham
original abstract†Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
INTRODUCTION: Cervical spine involvement is common and potentially severe in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The objectives of this study were to compare the prevalences of cervical spine abnormalities detected by standard radiography, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with RA; and to identify factors associated with cervical spine involvement.
METHODS: We studied 40 patients who met American College of Rheumatology criteria for RA and had disease durations of 2 years or more. Each patient underwent a physical examination, laboratory tests, standard radiographs (anteroposterior, lateral, open-mouth, flexion, and extension views), MRI with dynamic maneuvers in (if not contraindicated), and CT.
RESULTS: Cervical spine involvement was found by at least one imaging technique in 29 (72.5%) patients (standard radiography, 47.5%; CT, 28.2%; and MRI, 70%) and was asymptomatic in 5 (17.2%) patients. C1-C2 pannus was the most common lesion (62.5% of cases), followed by atlantoaxial subluxation (AAS, 45%). The most common AAS pattern was anterior subluxation (25%), followed by lateral subluxation (15%) then by vertical, rotatory, and subaxial subluxations (10% each). Erosions of the dens were seen in 67.5% of patients by MRI, 41% by CT, and 12.5% by standard radiography. Of the 10 cases of anterior AAS by any modality, 9 were detected by standard radiography and 7 by MRI. CT was the best technique for visualizing atypical rotatory or lateral AAS. MRI was best for assessing the C1-C2 pannus, dens erosions, and neurologic impact of the rheumatoid lesions. The comparison of patients with and without cervical spine lesions suggested that higher modified Sharp score and C-reactive protein values predicted cervical spine involvement (P=0.002 and P=0.004, respectively).
CONCLUSION: Cervical spine involvement is common and may be asymptomatic, indicating that routine cervical spine imaging is indicated in patients with RA. Standard radiography including dynamic views constitutes the first-line imaging method of choice. Sensitivity and comprehensiveness of the assessment are greatest with MRI. MRI and CT are often reserved for selected patients. Cervical spine involvement is associated with disease activity and with rapidly progressive joint destruction.
- “Central sensitization in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic literature review,” an article in Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, 2012.
These two articles on PainScience.com cite Younes 2009 as a source:
- PS Save Yourself from Neck Pain! — A complete guide to chronic neck pain and the disturbing sensation of a “crick”
- PS Sensitization in Chronic Pain — Pain itself can change how pain works, resulting in more pain with less provocation
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- A Bayesian model-averaged meta-analysis of the power pose effect with informed and default priors: the case of felt power. Gronau 2017 Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology.
- The neck and headaches. Bogduk 2014 Neurol Clin.
- Agreement of self-reported items and clinically assessed nerve root involvement (or sciatica) in a primary care setting. Konstantinou 2012 Eur Spine J.
- Effect of NSAIDs on Recovery From Acute Skeletal Muscle Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Morelli 2017 Am J Sports Med.
- Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Paige 2017 JAMA.