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Study: knee pain can also promote depression


Knee pain from osteoarthritis can have dire consequences

Many people suffer from knee pain, which is often due to osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis affects millions of people worldwide. Knee pain that occurs as a result of osteoarthritis can affect the quality of life, which in turn seems to lead to depression.

Scientists from Toho University and Keio University in Japan published the results of their current study in the English-language journal "Journal of the American Geriatrics Society".

So far, there has been little research on this topic

If people suffer from knee pain due to osteoarthritis, this often leads to the development of depression. This effect is due to the general impairment of the quality of life, the experts explain. So far, there have been only a few studies dealing with the effects of knee pain on the development of depression. Doctors examined how knee pain and impaired knee function affect depression.

573 subjects took part in the study

For their study, the researchers looked at data from 573 people aged 65 years or older to assess the effects of knee pain on the health and quality of life of older adults in central Japan. At the start of the study (between 2005 and 2006), none of the participants had symptoms of depression. At the end of the study, all participants took part in a survey. The subjects then answered questions about their knee pain and were also examined for symptoms of depression.

Twelve percent of the participants developed depression

The researchers found that almost twelve percent of the participants had developed symptoms of depression at the end of the study. If people often had knee pain in bed at night or, for example, pain when putting on stockings, those affected reported symptoms of depression more often, the study authors explain.

Older people with knee pain should be examined for depression

The researchers concluded that older adults with knee pain would likely benefit if they were tested for their risk of depression.

Knee pain affects the quality of life

Pain in the knees can severely affect people. Physical activity is important for good health and is prescribed by doctors to treat a range of diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. But many people do not follow this advice because of their aching joints and the fear that exercise could damage them. However, research in recent years has shown that exercise is a good pain reliever. Nowadays, exercise is recommended worldwide for the treatment of painful joints in middle-aged and older people.

Training protects against pain

However, implementing this recommendation is not easy. Most people experience a 10 percent increase in pain first when they start exercising. However, this is not a warning sign, the body only signals that those affected are doing something they were not used to before, the doctors explain. Bones, muscles and cartilage in the human body adapt to the load over time and their quality improves when people exercise regularly. (as)

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