The Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurological disease in Australia. Since it is a degenerative condition with no known cure, treating and managing symptoms, especially pain, is crucial.
Bildnachweis: University of South Australia
Researchers at the University of South Australia are investigating the characteristics and treatment of pain in Parkinson’s disease in hopes of advancing patient-centered pain treatment services.
In Australia, 100,000 people suffer from Parkinson’s disease, with up to 85% of patients experiencing some form of pain. However, despite the prevalence of pain in Parkinson’s, they are still not adequately recognized and treated in clinical practice.
Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating condition that causes motor symptoms (such as slow movement, stiffness, tremors, and postural instability) and non-motor symptoms (such as depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal disorders, fatigue, and pain). It mostly occurs in older people, but 20% of affected individuals are under 50 years old, and 10% are diagnosed before the age of 40.
It is estimated that more than 8.5 million people worldwide suffer from Parkinson’s disease, with prevalence nearly doubling in the last 25 years. In Australia, the disease is diagnosed in 38 people daily.
The lead researcher and doctoral student, Anthony Mezzini from UniSA, states that pain is the main reason for reduced quality of life in people with Parkinson’s.
„It is known that Parkinson’s affects a person’s ability to control their movements. Less known, however, is that it also causes chronic pain.“
Anthony Mezzini, Lead Researcher and Doctoral Student, UniSA
„In people with Parkinson’s, pain can occur in muscles and joints, the nervous system, and even internal organs like the stomach and intestines. This can cause pain in almost all parts of the body.
„In some cases, the pain is so unbearable and persistent that it overshadows the motor symptoms of the disease.
„As part of this research, we are conducting a comprehensive study on the pain of people with Parkinson’s so that we can develop a deeper understanding of how to best treat pain symptoms and develop patient-centered care measures.
„For those suffering from chronic pain, this can be a major cause of reduced quality of life. We want to change this for the better for people with Parkinson’s.“
The Australian Parkinson’s Pain Study, funded by the Hospital Research Foundation Group, is currently seeking people with Parkinson’s to contribute their pain experiences. If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, are at least 18 years old, and have had pain symptoms in the last month, you may be eligible.
University of South Australia