Muscle pain, or myalgia, is quite common and can be felt anywhere there is muscle tissue on the body. The pain is usually localised and affects a small number of muscles at a time. Systemic muscle pain, which is felt throughout the body, is different and is more often the result of an infection, an illness or a side effect of a medication.
Muscle pain is typically related to tension, overuse, or due to muscle injury resulting from exercise or physically demanding work. The pain tends start during or just after the activity. It is often obvious which activity is causing the pain.
Muscle pain also can be a sign of conditions affecting the whole body. For example, some infections (including the flu) and disorders that affect connective tissues throughout the body can cause muscle pain.
Common causes of muscle pain include tension or stress, injury (sprains) or using a muscle too much. Another cause may be fibromyalgia, a condition that causes tenderness in the muscles and surrounding soft tissue as well as sleep difficulties, fatigue or headaches.
Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is the second most common musculoskeletal pain condition and is associated with pain and tenderness of the jaw. Although a number of biological factors have shown an association with chronic TMD in cross-sectional and case control studies, there are currently no biomarkers that can predict the development of chronic symptoms. Because of the difficulty in treating chronic pain, development of brain signal predictive biomarkers is of growing interest.
The PREDICT project will aim to develop a predictive biomarker signature of pain severity and duration using two commonly available techniques – electroencephalogram (EEG) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) – and perform initial clinical validation in first onset TMD. The biomarker could have utility in identifying patients at high risk of transitioning from acute to chronic pain and has additional potential for clinical application in the treatment and prevention of chronic pain.
This project will be carried out in collaboration with a team at the University of Maryland, Baltimore lead by A/Prof David Seminowicz (see more information here).
Seminowicz DA, Bilska K, Chowdhury NS, Skippen P, Millard SK, Chiang A, Chen S, Furman AJ, & Schabrun SM. (2020). A novel cortical biomarker signature for predicting pain sensitivity: protocol for the PREDICT longitudinal analytical validation study. Pain Reports, 5(4), e833. doi: 10.1097/PR9.0000000000000833
Chronic pain, defined as pain lasting for >3 months, typically develops from injuries to deep tissues such as muscle, yet little is known about how long-lasting pain affects a person’s blood pressure or capacity to control their muscles. This project assesses the effects of tonic muscle pain on sympathetic nerve activity and stretch sensitivity of muscle spindles.
On August 11 2019, 54 people took on the City2Surf for Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA). The event is the world’s largest fun run with 80,000 participants taking on the 14km course, which stretches from Hyde Park in central Sydney to the iconic Bondi Beach. NeuRA thanks all of its fundraisers, who raised an incredible $30,903. This funding will further NeuRA’s […]