New advances in musculoskeletal pain

Bove SE, Flatters SJ, Inglis JJ, Mantyh PW. New advances in musculoskeletal pain. Brain Res Rev. 2009 Apr;60(1):187-201.

Non-malignant musculoskeletal pain is the most common clinical symptom that causes patients to seek medical attention and is a major cause of disability in the world. Musculoskeletal pain can arise from a variety of common conditions including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, surgery, low back pain and bone fracture. A major problem in designing new therapies to treat musculoskeletal pain is that the underlying mechanisms driving musculoskeletal pain are not well understood. This lack of knowledge is largely due to the scarcity of animal models that closely mirror the human condition which would allow the development of a mechanistic understanding and novel therapies to treat this pain. To begin to develop a mechanism-based understanding of the factors involved in generating musculoskeletal pain, in this review we present recent advances in preclinical models of osteoarthritis, post-surgical pain and bone fracture pain. The models discussed appear to offer an attractive platform for understanding the factors that drive this pain and the preclinical screening of novel therapies to treat musculoskeletal pain. Developing both an understanding of the mechanisms that drive persistent musculoskeletal pain and novel mechanism-based therapies to treat these unique pain states would address a major unmet clinical need and have significant clinical, economic and societal benefits.