The future of chronic pain treatment
Blocking the body’s stress response might ease chronic pain | New study from London shows
What We Know So Far
Chronic pain is a disabling disease that effects approximately 20% of the general public. The most common form of chronic pain is chronic back pain. More woman than men are affected. Previous research showed that chronic pain is related to chronic stress. Moreover, people suffering from chronic stress are more sensitive to pain. Unfortunately chronic pain is difficult to treat. Here you can find the current treatment options: Here
The New Study
Researchers from the University College London (UCL) focused on the things happening to your body when you suffer from stress. This might be physical stress (injury, inflammation) or psychological stress. In this complex mechanism a protein called FKBP51 plays an important role. It increases when we experience stress (glucorticoid signaling) and the higher the levels of FKBP51, the more vulnerable to pain we are. Therefore the researchers wanted to find out if blocking FKBP51 could ease chronic pain.
The researchers found out that mice, which don’t have the protein FKBP51 could cope better with chronic pain. Moreover blocking FKBP51 in mice experiencing already chronic pain, reduced the pain. Interestingly the perception of acute pain was not affected.
The researchers concluded: “FKBP51 could be a potentially promising target for treating chronic pain in patients….”. Looking at the limited treatment options currently available and the strong side effects of some (opioids) this is an interesting finding for many patients. However, from the mouse model to availability on the market remains a long way.