Current Pain and Headache Reports

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 492–501

Imaging Pain in Arthritis: Advances in Structural and Functional Neuroimaging

Pain Aspects of Arthritis (DA Walsh and S Kelly, Section Editors)

DOI: 10.1007/s11916-012-0297-4

Cite this article as:
Harvey, A.K., Taylor, A.M. & Wise, R.G. Curr Pain Headache Rep (2012) 16: 492. doi:10.1007/s11916-012-0297-4


Arthritis is a heterogeneous disease characterized by joint stiffness, swelling, and pain. Although primarily considered a peripheral joint disease, the severity of pain reported by arthritis patients does not always reflect the extent of joint pathology detectable by conventional means. Using structural and functional brain imaging techniques, a growing number of evolving neuroimaging methods are providing insight into these observed discrepancies at different time-scales. Of these methods, functional magnetic resonance imaging is exploited for short-term evoked pain examination and treatment evaluation; ‘resting-state’ approaches provide insight into fluctuations in pain; perfusion imaging captures elements of on-going clinical pain; and morphological brain assessment provides evidence for long-term structural changes in the brain associated with chronic pain. Further insight into arthritic pain processing at the brain-systems level could in the future be provided by combined neuroimaging approaches, specifically investigating the interactions between functional and structural alterations.


Arthritic pain Clinical pain Experimental pain Chronic pain Rheumatoid arthritis Osteoarthritis Chronic low back pain Fibromyalgia Functional neuroimaging Functional magnetic resonance imaging Structural neuroimaging Structural plasticity Resting-state Functional connectivity Painful fluctuations Positron emission tomography Arterial spin labeling Default mode network Voxel-based morphometry Treatment evaluation 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ann K. Harvey
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ann M. Taylor
    • 2
    • 3
  • Richard G. Wise
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Arthritis Research UK Biomechanics and Bioengineering CentreCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  2. 2.Institute for Infection & Immunity, School of MedicineCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  3. 3.CUBRIC, School of PsychologyCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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