Dr. Nikesh Seth specializes in treating the whole person at Integrated Pain Consultants, and that includes considering the ways various demographics experience pain. Osteoarthritis, or OA, is the most common type of arthritis. It can be very painful, but a recent study shows that African Americans actually experience more severe OA pain compared to their non-Hispanic white counterparts.
The research, published on MEDLINE, also suggests that African Americans experience poorer physical performance and more “functional disability” than other demographics suffering from OA. A standard mean difference (SMD) for pain severity was considered between the two groups. Various additional measures, such as a numeric rating scale, were also incorporated.
If you’ve ever been asked to rate your pain scale while at a doctor’s office, you are familiar with these types of scales. However, by collecting large amounts of data, researchers are able to gauge whether different groups experience pain rates differently. The qualitative data showed that in 75 percent of studies, pain severity was more significant in African Americans who have OA. There were 12 percent of studies that showed pain severity was actually greater in non-Hispanic whites compared to African Americans. Finally, 15 percent of studies found there was no difference.
With 75 percent of studies suggesting African Americans experience more OA-related pain, that is something to bear in mind when it comes to treatment. Although this data is important, it doesn’t override the fact that pain management is personal and should be addressed between patient and doctor. With so many medical, surgical, and alternative methods for OA pain management available, there will likely be some trial and error. What works for one person might not be the best fit for someone else.
An integrated pain management clinic will listen to the patient’s concerns and descriptions. Only then can the best treatment plan be devised. If you’re interested in alternatives to pain management, contact Integrated Pain Consultants today and rest easy knowing that you will work with a physician to develop a treatment just for you.