This article deals with some of the concepts related to the progression of osteoarthritis. These statements were given by prominent researchers and resulted in a debate between two prominent groups of researchers against each other. All of these took place actively in the 19th century where the publications of research scholars were opposed to that of the scholars in the other group.

William Bauer told that mechanical trauma can result in OA directly or indirectly. By the 20th century ideologies were majorly split into two ‘inflammation’ and ‘no inflammation’. Henry Fuller and Robert Todd suggested that OA occurred due to disruption to nutrients required for knee development and doesn’t occur through inflammation. On the other hand, Garrod and others stated that OA is partly degenerative and partly inflammative. Hence the study for OA continued under these two domains and each group of scientists trying to prove the other is false. But this situation can be compared to two sides of a coin where both the situations cannot be neglected. Hence both the domains of OA cannot be neglected.

Some others say that OA is a neurogenic immune homeostatic disorder. Garrod in 1988 stated that OA is associated with lesions in CNS in a peculiar manner. CNS refers to the central nervous system which constitutes the brain and spinal cord. The brain is the mastermind of the body which generates electrochemical signals to simulate several neurons in the body. The spinal cord is known as a warehouse of reflexes. Reflex is an involuntary (cannot be controlled by conscience) rapid sequence of actions. Reflex can be best explained by several experiments.

When someone comes to hit you; you will either duck or catch his hand spontaneously and this is known as a reflex and the spinal cord or vertebral column is responsible for this.

The reflex of the knee is tested by the doctor who takes a rubber mallet and taps it on the knee and what interestingly happens is that the knee starts to retract and the patient can feel the pain. In case of OA or any knee-related diseases, the patient cannot experience any pain and hence the doctor understands that there is some abnormality in the knee. Hence we can understand that there is a connection between the knee’s ability and CNS and an interruption in this connection can lead to knee diseases.

We have to understand that this is a basic relation and there are other complex associations between them and require more complex methods like electrophysiology and pharmacology to understand them. Later it was proposed that changes in the sympathetic nervous system can also lead to OA.

The sympathetic nervous system is a part of the autonomic nervous system. This can be correlated to the word ‘increase’. The sympathetic nervous system works in response to stimuli like emotions and increases some parameters of the human body like heart rate, eye dilation, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc. this proposal paved the way for using micro-circuitry to correct it.

There is also another field on which the world is divided into two namely ‘nociceptive’ and ‘neuropathic’ where nociceptive refers to pain resulted due to receptors. These are present at target and send signals to the brain via the spine more or less like the reflex. On the other hand neuropathic refers to the condition where pain occurs due to nerves. The following table shows the difference between these two. 

Receptor-mediated painNerve mediated pain
Doesn’t affect nervesAffects the nerves
Due to painful stimuliDue to inflammation

However, some of the debate topics have not been resolved even till now but a lot of research articles about the progression of the disease and its underlying phenomena have been published. This is one of the cases in which a debate has done some good to the field of science!