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Pain Control Often Inadequate in End-Stage Osteoarthritis

Many patients do not discuss pain or osteoarthritis with their doctor

WEDNESDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with advanced osteoarthritis of the hips or knees who are waiting for joint replacement surgery experience high levels of pain but many do not discuss their pain or osteoarthritis with their physician, according to a report in the April issue of Rheumatology.

Gretl A. McHugh, from the University of Manchester in the U.K., and colleagues examined pain control, treatment and service provision in 105 patients with end-stage lower limb osteoarthritis who were on a waiting list for primary knee or hip replacement. Patients were examined at baseline and at times up to six months.

The researchers found that patients had high levels of pain as assessed by two pain scales and 74 percent of patients were taking analgesics more than once a day. Of the 70 percent of patients who had visited their physician in the past three months, 55 percent had not discussed their pain or osteoarthritis. Only 30 percent of patients said they had received information on osteoarthritis, the report indicates.

"Pain appears to be difficult to manage in individuals with end-stage lower limb osteoarthritis," the authors conclude. "Patients would benefit from more proactive management by health professionals (especially by general practitioners)."

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