Central Pain in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Central pain—which emanates from the central nervous system and does not require peripheral structural, immune, or neuropathic activation—is the primary mechanism of many chronic pain disorders, including fibromyalgia (FM), irritable bowel syndrome, chronic headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, and pelvic/bladder pain syndromes.
Over the past 20 years, there has been a growing body of research demonstrating central pain in RA. The strong association between RA and FM also has provided clues that central pain must be considered in patients with RA. This article will review these studies and provide guidelines to best recognize and treat the central pain associated with RA.