Musculoskeletal pain can occur for a wide range of reasons, from degenerative diseases like arthritis to traumatic injury caused by a car accident or sports injury. However, healthcare researchers remain unclear about many of the specific factors in play when it comes to chronic joint, muscle and bone pains. Further research into understanding how biological processes in the body work could shed new light on the complexities behind many of these physical pain issues.
Recently, a team of Texas investigators concluded an investigation into how joint diseases, injuries and musculoskeletal conditions develop. Based on their research, it seems that negative interactions with a particular substance may be to blame in certain instances.
Statin usage and musculoskeletal pain
Researchers from the VA North Texas Health Care System in Dallas published a study linking the use of statins to increased chance of developing muscle, joint and bone pain. Statins are agents that work to lower harmful cholesterol levels, making them valuable to treating cardiovascular conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure.
"Musculoskeletal conditions, arthropathies, injuries and pain are more common among statin users than among similar nonusers. The full spectrum of statins' musculoskeletal adverse events may not be fully explored, and further studies are warranted, especially in physically active individuals," lead researcher Ishak Mansi, M.D., and his colleagues noted in the study.
Many users of statins have experienced a range of negative side effects, including cramps, loss of strength, tendon diseases and other complications. To test the relationship between statins and musculoskeletal pain, Mansi and his team used data collected in 2005 by a military healthcare group. The researchers looked at 46,249 patients within the military care system, placing 6,967 in the statin-using group and 6,967 in the control group.
Based on this information, the Texas team found that patients who had used statins over a period of 90 days were more likely to experience musculoskeletal pain than the non-users.
Background on chronic pain
There are many types of musculoskeletal conditions common in the U.S., including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and lupus. These conditions can lead to long-term chronic pain, which is a serious issue among American adults.
According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, chronic pain is the most widespread health condition in the U.S. Approximately 100 million American citizens experience some form of chronic pain symptoms on a regular basis, as found in a study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Additionally, the most common forms of chronic pain conditions are lower back pain, headaches, neck pain and facial pain.