UniSA researchers seek solutions for chronic pain in Parkinson’s disease

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Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurological disease in Australia. As a degenerative disease with no known cure, managing and treating symptoms is vital, especially when it comes to pain.

Photo credit: University of South Australia

Now, researchers at the University of South Australia are investigating the characteristics and treatment of Parkinson’s disease pain in hopes of advancing patient-centred pain care services.

In Australia, 100,000 people have Parkinson’s disease with up to 85% of patients experiencing some form of pain. Yet despite the prevalence of pain in Parkinson’s, it is under-recognized and under-treated in clinical practice.

Parkinson’s disease is a disabling condition that causes motor symptoms (such as slowness of movement, rigidity, tremors, and postural instability) and non-motor symptoms (such as depression, anxiety, sleep, gastrointestinal disorders, fatigue, and pain). It usually occurs in older people, but 20% of sufferers are diagnosed under the age of 50 and 10% before the age of 40.

Worldwide, estimates show that more than 8.5 million people have Parkinson’s disease, and its prevalence has nearly doubled in the past 25 years. In Australia, 38 people are diagnosed with the condition every day.

Principal Investigator and PhD candidate, Anthony Mazzini of UniSA said pain is a major driver of reduced quality of life in people with Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s is well known for affecting a person’s ability to control movement, but what is less well known is that it also causes chronic pain.

Anthony Mazzini, Principal Investigator and PhD Candidate, UniSA

In people with Parkinson’s, pain can occur in the muscles and joints, in the nervous system and even in internal organs such as the stomach and intestines. As a result, pain can be felt in almost any part of the body.

In some cases, the pain is so unbearable and unbearable that it overshadows the motor symptoms of the disease..

In this study, we are undertaking a comprehensive study of pain experienced by people with Parkinson’s, so that we can gain a deeper understanding of how to best manage pain symptoms and develop patient-centered care responses..

For those who experience chronic pain, it can be a major driver of reduced quality of life. We want to change that for the better for people with Parkinson’s

Funded by The Hospital Research Foundation Group, the Australian Parkinson’s Pain Study is currently seeking people with Parkinson’s to contribute to their experience of pain. If you have Parkinson’s disease, are over 18 and have experienced pain symptoms in the past month, you may be eligible.

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