Objective: To determine whether the comorbidity burden and co-existing comorbidities are cross-sectionally and/or longitudinally associated with pain and pain sensitization in a cohort study of people with hand OA. Design: We examined whether comorbidity burden and individual comorbidities based on the self-administered Comorbidity Index (range: 0–42) at baseline were associated with pain outcomes at baseline and 3 years follow-up. Pain outcomes included hand and overall bodily pain (range: 0–10) as well as pressure pain thresholds at the tibialis anterior muscle (kg/cm2) and temporal summation (distal radioulnar joint) as measures of central pain sensitization. We performed linear regression analyses adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, physical exercise and education. Results: We included 300 and 196 participants in cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses, respectively. Using baseline data, the burden of comorbidities was associated with greater pain in hands (beta = 0.61, 95% CI 0.37, 0.85) and overall body (beta = 0.60, 95% CI 0.37, 0.87). Similar strength of associations was found between comorbidity burden (baseline) and follow-up pain. Among the individual comorbidities, back pain and depression were associated with nearly one unit higher pain score in hands and overall body at both baseline and follow-up. Only back pain was related to lower pressure pain thresholds at follow up (beta = −0.24, 95% CI −0.50, −0.001). Conclusion: People with hand OA and greater comorbidity burden, co-existing back pain or depression reported greater pain severity than their counterparts, also 3 years later. These results acknowledge the relevance of accounting for comorbidities in the pain experience in people with hand OA.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
- Hand osteoarthritis
- Pain sensitization