Brief, localized, cutaneous, non-painful thermal stimuli can evoke a transient vasomotor response, causing increased cutaneous blood flow and elevated skin temperature. The aims of this study were to investigate 1) if cutaneous sensitization by topical application of capsaicin (TRPV1 receptor agonist) can facilitate the size, duration and spatial extent of this vasomotor response and 2) if males and females respond differently. Thermal pulses (43°C for 60 seconds) were applied on left/right volar forearms of 15 age-matched males and females. Skin temperature and cutaneous blood flow were measured 1, 5, 10, 15, and 30 minutes after heat application before and after topical capsaicin (1%, 30 min application) with contralateral arm serving as the control. Recordings were made from the region of interest at distances of 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 cm from the capsaicin application site. Sensitization significantly enhanced skin temperature for up to 30 min and compared with non-sensitized skin at 10 min. Females showed the strongest response after sensitization, but the response lasted longer and spread more widely in males. The blood flow responses were significantly longer after capsaicin (from 5 to 30 minutes after thermal application). This increased blood flow extended outside the treated area up to 10 min after stimulation. After sensitization, the area under the blood flow response curves showed significantly stronger responses in females, spreading 4 cm outside the stimulation site. Cutaneous sensitizing caused prolonged and spatially expanded vasomotor responses to standardized thermal stimulation with sex specific differences.
Neurogenic inflammation; vasomotor response; thermal stimulation; sensitization; capsaicin; cutaneous
The objective was to investigate how postural control in knee osteoarthritis (KOA) patients, with different structural severities and pain levels, is reorganized under different sensory conditions.
Forty-two obese patients (BMI range from 30.1 to 48.7 kg*m−2, age range from 50 to 74 years) with KOA were evaluated. One minute of quiet standing was assessed on a force platform during 4 different sensory conditions, applied 3 times at random: Eyes open (EO) and eyes closed (EC) standing on firm and soft (foam) surfaces (EO-soft and EC-soft). Centre of pressure (Cop) standard deviation, speed, range and Cop mean position in both directions (anterior-posterior and medial-lateral) were extracted from the force platform data. Structural disease severity was assessed from semiflexed standing radiographs and graded by the Kellgren and Lawrence (KL) score. Pain intensity immediately before the measurements was assessed by numeric rating scale (range: 0–10).
The patients were divided into “less severe” (KL 1 and 2, n = 24) and “severe” (KL>2, n = 18) group. The CoP range in the medial-lateral direction was larger in the severe group when compared with the less severe group during EC-soft condition (P<0.01). Positive correlation between pain intensity and postural sway (range in medial-lateral direction) was found during EC condition, indicating that the higher the pain intensity, the less effective is the postural control applied to restore an equilibrium position while standing without visual information.
The results support that: (i) the postural reorganization under manipulation of the different sensory information is worse in obese KOA patients with severe degeneration and/or high pain intensity when compared with less impaired patients, and (ii) higher pain intensity is related to worse body balance in obese KOA patients.
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a chronic condition of unknown etiology. MCS is characterized by recurrent nonspecific symptoms from multiple organ systems in response to chemical exposures in concentrations that are normally tolerated by the majority of the population. The symptoms may have severe impact on patients’ lives, but an evidence-based treatment for the condition is nonexisting. The pathophysiology is unclarified, but several indicators point towards abnormal processing of sensory signals in the central nervous system. Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) offer a promising new treatment for refractory depression and can be targeted at the brain, thereby activating biochemical cell processes.
In a parallel, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted at the Danish Research Centre for Chemical Sensitivities, the effects of PEMF in MCS patients will be assessed using the Re5 Independent System. Based on sample size estimation, 40 participants will be randomized to either PEMF therapy or placebo. The allocation sequence will be generated by computer. All involved parties (that is, participants, investigators, the research nurse, and the statistician) will be blinded to group allocation. The participants will receive PEMF therapy or placebo applied transcranially 30 minutes twice a day for 7 days a week over 6 consecutive weeks. Outcomes will be measured at baseline, once weekly during treatment, post treatment, and at 2.5-month and 4.5-month follow-up according to a predefined timetable. The primary outcome will be a measurement of the impact of MCS on everyday life. The secondary outcomes will be measurements of MCS symptoms, psychological distress (stress, anxiety or depressive symptoms), capsaicin-induced secondary punctate hyperalgesia, immunological markers in serum, and quality of life.
This trial will assess the effects of PEMF therapy for MCS. Currently, there is no treatment with a documented effect on MCS, and in terms of healthcare there is very little to offer these patients. There is thus a great need for well-conducted randomized trials aimed at assessing possible treatment effects. A positive outcome will pave the way for improved healthcare and understanding of this very disabling and overlooked condition.
Multiple chemical sensitivity; Pulsed electromagnetic fields; Re5 therapy; Re5 independent system; Randomized controlled trial
Computer users often report musculoskeletal complaints and pain in the upper extremities and the neck-shoulder region. However, recent epidemiological studies do not report a relationship between the extent of computer use and work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD).
The aim of this study was to conduct an explorative analysis on short and long-term pain complaints and work-related variables in a cohort of Danish computer users.
A structured web-based questionnaire including questions related to musculoskeletal pain, anthropometrics, work-related variables, work ability, productivity, health-related parameters, lifestyle variables as well as physical activity during leisure time was designed. Six hundred and ninety office workers completed the questionnaire responding to an announcement posted in a union magazine. The questionnaire outcomes, i.e., pain intensity, duration and locations as well as anthropometrics, work-related variables, work ability, productivity, and level of physical activity, were stratified by gender and correlations were obtained.
Women reported higher pain intensity, longer pain duration as well as more locations with pain than men (P < 0.05). In parallel, women scored poorer work ability and ability to fulfil the requirements on productivity than men (P < 0.05). Strong positive correlations were found between pain intensity and pain duration for the forearm, elbow, neck and shoulder (P < 0.001). Moderate negative correlations were seen between pain intensity and work ability/productivity (P < 0.001).
The present results provide new key information on pain characteristics in office workers. The differences in pain characteristics, i.e., higher intensity, longer duration and more pain locations as well as poorer work ability reported by women workers relate to their higher risk of contracting WMSD. Overall, this investigation confirmed the complex interplay between anthropometrics, work ability, productivity, and pain perception among computer users.
Computer use; Musculoskeletal complaints; Arm-shoulder pain; Gender; Sex
Pain tolerance is subject to considerable inter-individual variation, which may be influenced by a number of genetic and non-genetic factors. The mu, delta and kappa opioid receptors play a role in pain perception and are thought to mediate different pain modalities. The aim of this study was to explore associations between pain thresholds and gender and genetic variants in the three opioid receptor genes (OPRM, OPRD and OPRK). Experimental multi-modal pain data from previously published studies carried out in healthy Caucasian volunteers were used in order to limit the number of confounders to the study outcome. Data on thermal skin pain (n=36), muscle pressure pain (n=31) and mechanical visceral pain (n=50)) tolerance thresholds were included.
Nineteen genetic polymorphisms were included in linear regression modeling. Males were found to tolerate higher thermal and muscle pressure pain than females (p=0.003 and 0.02). Thirty four percent of variability in thermal skin pain was accounted for by a model consisting of OPRK rs6473799 and gender. This finding was just outside significance when correction for multiple testing was applied. Variability in muscle pressure pain tolerance was associated with OPRK rs7016778 and rs7824175. These SNPs accounted for 43% of variability in muscle pressure pain sensitivity and these findings remained significant after adjustment for multiple testing. No association was found with mechanical visceral pain.
This is a preliminary and hypothesis generating study due to the relatively small study size. However, significant association between the opioid receptor genes and experimental pain sensitivity supports the influence of genetic variability in pain perception. These findings may be used to generate hypotheses for testing in larger clinical trials of patients with painful conditions.
OPRM; OPRK; OPRD; Gender; Pain tolerance thresholds; Opioid receptor genes
Background and Aims
Compounds that act on GABA-receptors produce anti-hyperalgesia in animal models, but little is known on their effects in humans. The aim of this study was to explore the potential usefulness of GABA-agonism for the control of pain in humans. Two agonists at the benzodiazepine-binding site of GABAA-receptors (clobazam and clonazepam) were studied using multiple experimental pain tests. Positive results would support further investigation of GABA agonism for the control of clinical pain.
In a randomized double-blind crossover design, 16 healthy male volunteers received clobazam 20 mg, clonazepam 1 mg and tolterodine 1 mg (active placebo). The area of static hyperalgesia after intradermal capsaicin injection was the primary endpoint. Secondary endpoints were: area of dynamic hyperalgesia, response to von Frey hair stimulation, pressure pain thresholds, conditioned pain modulation, cutaneous and intramuscular electrical pain thresholds (1, 5 and 20 repeated stimulation), and pain during cuff algometry.
For the primary endpoint, an increase in the area of static hyperalgesia was observed after administration of placebo (p<0.001), but not after clobazam and clonazepam. Results suggestive for an anti-hyperalgesic effect of the benzodiazepines were obtained with all three intramuscular pain models and with cuff algometry. No effect could be detected with the other pain models employed.
Collectively, the results are suggestive for a possible anti-hyperalgesic effect of drugs acting at the GABAA-receptors in humans, particularly in models of secondary hyperalgesia and deep pain. The findings are not conclusive, but support further clinical research on pain modulation by GABAergic drugs. Because of the partial results, future research should focus on compounds acting selectively on subunits of the GABA complex, which may allow the achievement of higher receptor occupancy than unselective drugs. Our data also provide information on the most suitable experimental models for future investigation of GABAergic compounds.
Chronic pain is often associated with hyperalgesia in cross-sectional studies. In the present study, a random cohort of 40-year-old individuals (n = 264) from the general population was assessed for low back pain (LBP) status and pressure pain threshold (PPT), with follow-up assessment 4 and 8 years later. Low PPT at baseline as a potential risk factor for the development of LBP was investigated longitudinally and the association between LBP and hyperalgesia was studied cross-sectionally at baseline and 8-year follow-up. Generalized (p < 0.03) and localized pressure hyperalgesia (p < 0.02) was found in participants with long-lasting LBP, but not with recent LBP (p > 0.08). Of the participants without recent or long-lasting LBP, those with a low PPT at baseline (lower 10% percentile) had no increased risk of developing LBP (p > 0.05). The findings indicate that PPT decreases as a consequence of long-lasting pain, whereas a low PPT seems not to constitute a separate risk factor for the development of LBP.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00586-011-1796-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Low back pain; Generalized hyperalgesia; Quantitative sensory testing; Central sensitization; Pressure pain threshold
It is recommended that non-operative treatment of knee osteoarthritis (KOA) should be individually tailored and include multiple treatment modalities. Despite these recommendations, no one has yet investigated the efficacy of combining several non-surgical treatment modalities in a randomised controlled study. The purpose of this randomised controlled study is to examine if an optimised, combined non-surgical treatment programme results in greater improvements in pain, function and quality of life in comparison with usual care in patients with KOA who are not eligible for total knee arthroplasty (TKA).
Methods and analysis
This study will include 100 consecutive patients from the North Denmark Region not eligible for TKA with radiographic KOA (K-L grade ≥1) and mean pain during the previous week of ≤60 mm (0–100). The participants will be randomised to receive either a 12-week non-surgical treatment programme consisting of patient education, exercise, diet, insoles, paracetamol and/or NSAIDs or usual care (two information leaflets containing information on KOA and advice regarding the above non-surgical treatment). The primary outcome will be the change from baseline to 12 months on the self-report questionnaire Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS)4 defined as the average score for the subscale scores for pain, symptoms, activities of daily living and quality of life. Secondary outcomes include the five individual KOOS subscale scores, pain on a 100 mm Visual Analogue Scale, EQ-5D, self-efficacy, pain pressure thresholds, postural control and isometric knee flexion and knee extension strength.
Ethics and dissemination
This study was approved by the local Ethics Committee of The North Denmark Region (N-20110085) and the protocol conforms to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. Data collection will be completed by April 2014. Publications will be ready for submission in the summer of 2014.
Trial registration number
This study is registered with http://clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01535001).
Rheumatology; Rehabilitation Medicine
The transition from acute to chronic musculoskeletal pain is not well understood. To understand this transition, it is important to know how peripheral and central sensitization are manifested and how they can be assessed. A variety of human pain biomarkers have been developed to quantify localized and widespread musculoskeletal pain. In addition, human surrogate models may be used to induce sensitization in otherwise healthy volunteers. Pain can arise from different musculoskeletal structures (e.g. muscles, joints, ligaments, or tendons), and differentiating the origin of pain from those different structures is a challenge. Tissue specific pain biomarkers can be used to tease these different aspects. Chronic musculoskeletal pain patients in general show signs of local/central sensitization and spread of pain to degrees which correlate to pain intensity and duration. From a management perspective, it is therefore highly important to reduce pain intensity and try to minimize the duration of pain.
Sensitization; hyperalgesia; experimental pain; muscle; joint
There is a lack of high quality evidence concerning the efficacy of total knee arthroplasty (TKA). According to international evidence-based guidelines, treatment of knee osteoarthritis (KOA) should include patient education, exercise and weight loss. Insoles and pharmacological treatment can be included as supplementary treatments. If the combination of these non-surgical treatment modalities is ineffective, TKA may be indicated. The purpose of this randomised controlled trial is to examine whether TKA provides further improvement in pain, function and quality of life in addition to optimised non-surgical treatment in patients with KOA defined as definite radiographic OA and up to moderate pain.
The study will be conducted in The North Denmark Region. 100 participants with radiographic KOA (K-L grade ≥2) and mean pain during the previous week of ≤ 60 mm (0–100, best to worst scale) who are considered eligible for TKA by an orthopaedic surgeon will be included. The treatment will consist of 12 weeks of optimised non-surgical treatment consisting of patient education, exercise, diet, insoles, analgesics and/or NSAIDs. Patients will be randomised to either receiving or not receiving a TKA in addition to the optimised non-surgical treatment. The primary outcome will be the change from baseline to 12 months on the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS)4 defined as the average score for the subscale scores for pain, symptoms, activities of daily living, and quality of life. Secondary outcomes include the five individual KOOS subscale scores, EQ-5D, pain on a 100 mm Visual Analogue Scale, self-efficacy, pain pressure thresholds, and isometric knee flexion and knee extension strength.
This is the first randomised controlled trial to investigate the efficacy of TKA as an adjunct treatment to optimised non-surgical treatment in patients with KOA. The results will significantly contribute to evidence-based recommendations for the treatment of patients with KOA.
Clinicaltrials.gov reference: NCT01410409
Absorption of drugs from subcutaneous tissue depends on several factors, including tissue perfusion at the administration site. Tissue perfusion can be manipulated by e.g. application of local heat. This may subsequently alter the rate or amount of absorption of drugs from a subcutaneous depot. The aim of the present study was to investigate if increased tissue perfusion after controlled local heating can change the absorption of subcutaneously administered short-acting insulin (Actrapid®, 100IU/ml). Thirteen healthy Caucasian males participated in two randomized experimental sessions; one session with locally applied controlled heat at the injection site, and a control session without local heat application. Tissue perfusion (blood flow) was monitored with Laser Doppler Imaging, and blood samples were taken to assess the levels of glucose and insulin. Local heat application at the site of insulin injection significantly enhanced tissue perfusion by approximately 145%. However, no correlation was found between insulin absorption and tissue perfusion. Based on our findings, it was concluded that tissue perfusion is not the rate-limiting factor in the absorption of high-concentration short-acting insulin from a subcutaneous depot. It is suggested that dissociation of insulin hexamers into dimers and monomers is a major rate limiting factor to the absorption.
Local heat; skin perfusion; insulin; Actrapid®; subcutaneous depot; absorption
The exteroceptive capabilities of the nociceptive system have long been thought to be considerably more limited than those of the tactile system. However, most investigations of spatio-temporal aspects of the nociceptive system have largely focused on intensity coding as consequence of spatial or temporal summation.
Graphesthesia, the identification of numbers “written” on the skin, and assessment of the two-point discrimination thresholds were used to compare the exteroceptive capabilities of the tactile and nociceptive systems. Numbers were “written” on the forearm and the abdomen by tactile stimulation and by painful non-contact infrared laser heat stimulation. Subjects performed both graphesthesia tasks better than chance. The tactile graphesthesia tasks were performed with 89% (82–97%) correct responses on the forearm and 86% (79–94%) correct responses on the abdomen. Tactile graphesthesia tasks were significantly better than painful heat graphesthesia tasks that were performed with 31% (23–40%) and 44% (37–51%) correct responses on the forearm and abdomen, respectively. These findings demonstrate that the central nervous system is capable of assembling complex spatio-temporal patterns of nociceptive information from the body surface into unified mental objects with sufficient accuracy to enable behavioral discrimination.
Graphesthesia; Two-point discrimination; Pain cognition; Laser heat stimulation; Spatio-temporal integration
Skin permeability and local blood perfusion are important factors for transdermal drug delivery. Application of heat is expected to enhance microcirculation and local perfusion and/or blood vessel permeability, thus facilitating drug transfer to the systemic circulation. In addition, heating prior to or during topical application of a drug may facilitate skin penetration, increase kinetic energy, and facilitate drug absorption. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether application of controlled local heat would enhance transdermal delivery from the nicotine patch mounted on the upper arm of ten healthy non-smoking male Caucasian subjects. Local skin perfusion was monitored using Laser Doppler Imaging (LDI) at baseline (32 °C) and following application of local controlled heat (43 °C) on the upper arm, where the patch was placed. The residue of the nicotine patches was then examined by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) to indicate the uptake of nicotine from the patch due to the local controlled heat. Controlled heat application (43°C) caused significant cutaneous hyperaemia (up to 9 folds increase in skin perfusion) with an increase in nicotine uptake (up to 13 folds). The method was well tolerated without causing any pain or discomfort. These data suggest that controlled heat application, which is a simple, non-invasive method, can significantly enhance local skin perfusion and drug uptake from patches.
Transdermal; nicotine; patch; local heat; skin perfusion
Skin permeability and local blood perfusion are important factors for transdermal drug delivery. Application of heat is expected to enhance microcirculation and local perfusion and/or blood vessel permeability, thus facilitating drug transfer to the systemic circulation. In addition, heating prior to or during topical application of a drug may facilitate skin penetration, increase kinetic energy, and facilitate drug absorption. The aim of the present study was to investigate skin vasomotor responses to mild heat generated by a controlled heat device on several body regions of healthy male and female subjects. Skin vasomotor responses in different body regions were recorded following different heat application paradigms (38, 41 and 43 °C, each for 15, 30, 60 sec). Test regions were forehead, forearm, dorsal hand, dorsal foot, and abdomen. Prior to and following the application of heat, local blood perfusion and skin temperature were measured by means of laser Doppler imaging (LDI) and thermography, respectively. It was found that a short-lasting heat application (43 °C for 60 sec) causes significant cutaneous hyperaemia (up to 2 folds increase in skin perfusion, and 5 °C increase in skin temperature) existing for up to 15 minutes. The site of application and sex did not influence the responses. The method was well tolerated without causing any pain or discomfort. These data suggest that controlled heat application is a simple, non-invasive method to significantly enhance local perfusion which may improve transcutaneous drug delivery.
Vasomotor; cutaneous; perfusion; skin; temperature
Diffuse noxious inhibitory control (DNIC) is described as one possible mechanism of acupuncture analgesia. This study investigated the analgesic effect of acupuncture without stimulation compared to nonpenetrating sham acupuncture (NPSA) and cold-pressor-induced DNIC. Forty-five subjects received each of the three interventions in a randomized order. The analgesic effect was measured using pressure algometry at the second toe before and after each of the interventions. Pressure pain detection threshold (PPDT) rose from 299 kPa (SD 112 kPa) to 364 kPa (SD 144), 353 kPa (SD 135), and 467 kPa (SD 168) after acupuncture, NPSA, and DNIC test, respectively. There was no statistically significant difference between acupuncture and NPSA at any time, but a significantly higher increase of PPDT in the DNIC test compared to acupuncture and NPSA. PPDT decreased after the DNIC test, whereas it remained stable after acupuncture and NPSA. Acupuncture needling at low pain stimulus intensity showed a small analgesic effect which did not significantly differ from placebo response and was significantly less than a DNIC-like effect of a painful noninvasive stimulus.
To characterize and contrast human sensory and vascular changes produced by topical application of the algesic chemical capsaicin to the glabrous lips and tongue.
Applications of 1% capsaicin or vehicle cream to the glabrous lips and tongue were randomized between two two-trial sessions. The capsaicin trial followed the vehicle trial for each session. Before and 5, 15, and 30 minutes after capsaicin or vehicle cream application, six parameters were recorded from the glabrous lips or the tongue dorsum: (1) burning pain intensity, as measured on a visual analog scale; (2) burning pain area, as indicated by subjects on an orofacial drawing; (3) mechanical sensitivity, as measured by a von Frey filament; (4) visual flare; (5) blood flow and temperature, as measured by laser-Doppler imaging and thermography, respectively; and (6) areas of increased temperature (hot spots), as calculated by a digital tracer from the thermographs. Data were analyzed by ANOVAs and Pearson’s correlations.
Compared to vehicle application, capsaicin elicited burning pain, increases in blood flow and temperature, but no change in mechanical sensitivity in the glabrous lips or tongue. Greater increases in blood flow and temperature paralleled more intense burning pain and larger areas of perceived pain for the lips compared to the tongue. The location of distinct areas of increased temperature within the orofacial area differed between the capsaicin-lip and capsaicin-tongue trials.
The several differences between these responses to noxious stimulation of the glabrous lips and tongue may have implications for examinations of orofacial somatosensory functions.
PMID: 19639105 CAMSID: cams1713
capsaicin; laser-Doppler imaging; orofacial pain; thermography
It has previously been reported that local and referred pain from active myofascial trigger points (MTPs) in the neck and shoulder region contribute to fibromyalgia (FM) pain and that the pain pattern induced from active MTPs can reproduce parts of the spontaneous clinical FM pain pattern. The current study investigated whether the overall spontaneous FM pain pattern can be reproduced by local and referred pain from active MTPs located in different muscles.
A spontaneous pain pattern in FM was recorded in 30 FM patients and 30 healthy subjects served as controls. Local and referred pain patterns induced from active (patients) and latent (controls) MTPs were recorded following manual stimulation. The existence of MTPs was confirmed by intramuscular electromyographical registration of spontaneous electrical activity.
Local and referred pain areas induced from key active MTPs in FM were larger than pain areas from latent MTPs in healthy controls (P < 0.001), but were similar to the overall spontaneous FM pain area in FM (P > 0.05). The induced pain area was positively associated with current spontaneous pain intensity in FM (P < 0.01). The locations of key active MTPs in FM patients were found to have latent MTPs in healthy subjects. The muscles containing key active MTPs in FM are often observed in the muscles of extensor digitorum, trapezius, infraspinatus in the upper part of the body and of quadratus lumborum, gluteus medius in the lower part of the body.
The overall spontaneous FM pain pattern can be reproduced by mechanical stimulation of active MTPs located in different muscles, suggesting that fibromyalgia pain is largely composed of pain arising from muscle pain and spasm. Targeting active MTPs and related perpetuating factors may be an important strategy in FM pain control.
CO2 lasers have been used for several decades as an experimental non-touching pain stimulator. The laser energy is absorbed by the water content in the most superficial layers of the skin. The deeper located nociceptors are activated by passive conduction of heat from superficial to deeper skin layers.
In the current study, a 2D axial finite element model was developed and validated to describe the spatial temperature distribution in the skin after infrared CO2 laser stimulation. The geometry of the model was based on high resolution ultrasound scans. The simulations were compared to the subjective pain intensity ratings from 16 subjects and to the surface skin temperature distributions measured by an infrared camera.
The stimulations were sensed significantly slower and less intense in glabrous skin than they were in hairy skin (MANOVA, p < 0.001). The model simulations of superficial temperature correlated with the measured skin surface temperature (r > 0.90, p < 0.001). Of the 16 subjects tested; eight subjects reported pricking pain in the hairy skin following a stimulus of 0.6 J/cm2 (5 W, 0.12 s, d1/e2 = 11.4 mm) only two reported pain to glabrous skin stimulation using the same stimulus intensity. The temperature at the epidermal-dermal junction (depth 50 μm in hairy and depth 133 μm in glabrous skin) was estimated to 46°C for hairy skin stimulation and 39°C for glabrous skin stimulation.
As compared to previous one dimensional heat distribution models, the current two dimensional model provides new possibilities for detailed studies regarding CO2 laser stimulation intensity, temperature levels and nociceptor activation.
Musculoskeletal pain in the low back and neck-shoulder regions is a major problem among the working population all over the world. The prevalence of musculoskeletal pain is found to be higher among women. Women also have lower pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) than men. Pressure pain topography aims at mapping the spatial distribution of PPT within a muscle in an attempt to track changes in mechanical sensitivity. In order to assess gender differences in the pain topography, it is necessary to map the distribution in both healthy men and women. The aim of this study was to assess PPT maps from the cervico-thoracic and lumbar regions in men and women.
Eleven men and eleven women without any known musculoskeletal disorders participated in the study. PPT was measured twice at 36 points over the trapezius muscle of the dominant arm, at 36 points over the trapezius muscle on the contralateral side and at 12 points over the spine between the left and right trapezius. Further, 11 points were measured over the erector spinae muscle on the left side of the spine between the first and the fifth lumbar vertebrae, 11 on the right side and 5 points on the spine itself. The measurements on each trapezius muscle were divided according to anatomical subdivisions. Three-way and two-way ANOVAs were used to analyse the differences in PPTs with the following factors: gender, locations and sub-divisions (only for cervico-thoracic region).
There were no differences between left and right side in neither the cervico-thoracic nor the lumbar region, but there were (large effect) differences between the subdivisions in the trapezius with the lowest values in the upper part (P < 0.001; partial η2 = 0.19). Women had (small effect) lower PPT in both cervico-thoracic and lumbar regions (P ≤ 0.001; partial η2 = 0.02 for both regions), but gender had no effect on neither location nor subdivisions.
The pain topography was not found to be different between genders in the cervico-thoracic and lumbar regions. This study can be used as basis for further clinical studies on musculoskeletal disorders.
Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide-38 (PACAP38) and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) belong to the same secretin–glucagon superfamily and are present in nerve fibers in dura and skin. Using a model of acute cutaneous pain we explored differences in pain perception and vasomotor responses between PACAP38 and VIP in 16 healthy volunteers in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. All participants received intradermal injections of 200 pmol PACAP38, 200 pmol VIP and placebo into the volar forearm. Measurements included pain intensity on a visual analog scale (VAS), blood flow by laser Doppler flowmetry, visual flare and wheal. Pain intensities after PACAP38 and VIP were mild and limited to a short time of about 100 s after injection. The area under the VAS-time curve was larger following PACAP38 (P = 0.004) and VIP (P = 0.01) compared to placebo. We found no statistical difference in pain perception between PACAP38 and VIP. Skin blood flow increase, flare and wheal were larger after both PACAP38 (P = 0.011) and VIP (P = 0.001) compared to placebo. VIP induced a considerably larger increase in skin blood flow, flare and wheal than PACAP38 (P = 0.002). In conclusion, we found that peripheral nociceptive cutaneous responses elicited by PACAP38 and VIP are similar in healthy volunteers. This suggests that acute pain and vasomotor responses following intradermal injections of PACAP38 and VIP are primarily mediated by VPAC receptors.
Cutaneous pain model; PACAP38; VIP; Pain; Neurogenic inflammation; Mast cell degranulation; Migraine without aura
To evaluate the brain's responses to painful visceral and somatic stimuli in diabetic patients with gastrointestinal symptoms.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
The sensitivity to electrical esophageal and median nerve stimulations was assessed in 15 healthy volunteers and 14 type 1 diabetic patients with autonomic neuropathy and gastrointestinal symptoms using a euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp. Evoked brain potentials were recorded.
Patients had reduced sensitivity to esophageal (48%; P < 0.001) and median nerve (80%; P < 0.001) stimulations. They also had increased (8.8%; P = 0.007) and nonreproducible (P = 0.006) latencies of evoked potentials in response to esophageal stimulations, with 26% reduction in amplitude (P = 0.011). No potential differences were seen to median nerve stimulations. In diabetic patients, the topographic location of the first peak in potentials was more central (P < 0.001) and gastrointestinal symptoms correlated with characteristics of brain potentials (P = 0.049).
This study supports that diabetes induces changes in peripheral visceral nerves as well as in the central nervous system.
In September 2006, members of the Sex, Gender and Pain Special Interest Group of the International Association for the Study of Pain met to discuss the following: (1) what is known about sex and gender differences in pain and analgesia; (2) what are the “best practice” guidelines for pain research with respect to sex and gender; and (3) what are the crucial questions to address in the near future? The resulting consensus presented herein includes input from basic science, clinical and psychosocial pain researchers, as well as from recognized experts in sexual differentiation and reproductive endocrinology. We intend this document to serve as a utilitarian and thought-provoking guide for future research on sex and gender differences in pain and analgesia, both for those currently working in this field as well as those still wondering, “Do I really need to study females?”
Sex differences; Gonadal hormones; Estrogens
In chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions, the balance between supraspinal facilitation and inhibition of pain shifts towards an overall decrease in inhibition. Application of a tonic painful stimulus results in activation of diffuse noxious inhibitory controls (DNIC). The aims of the present experimental human study were (1) to compare DNIC, evoked separately, by hypertonic saline (6%)-induced muscle pain (tibialis anterior) or cold pressor pain; (2) to investigate DNIC evoked by concomitant experimental muscle pain and cold pressor pain, and (3) to analyze for gender differences. Ten males and 10 age matched females participated in two sessions. In the first session unilateral muscle pain or unilateral cold pressor pain were induced separately; in the second session unilateral muscle pain and unilateral cold pressor pain were induced concomitantly. Pressure pain thresholds (PPT) were measured around the knee joint before, during, and after DNIC induction. Cold pressor pain increased PPT in both males and females with greater increases in males. Hypertonic saline-evoked muscle pain significantly increased PPT in males but not in females. When cold pressor and muscle pain were applied concomitantly the PPT increases were smaller when compared to the individual sessions. This study showed for the first time that two concurrent conditioning tonic pain stimuli (muscle pain and cold pressor pain) cause less DNIC compared with either of the conditioning stimuli given alone; and males showed greater DNIC than females. This may explain why patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain have impaired DNIC.
Experimental muscle pain; Inhibition; DNIC; Cold pressor
Compare pain-related measures and psychosocial variables between glutamate-evoked jaw muscle pain in healthy subjects (HS) and patients with persistent myofascial temporomandibular disorder (TMD) pain.
47 female HS and 10 female patients with persistent myofascial TMD pain participated. The HS received an injection of glutamate into the masseter muscle to model persistent myofascial TMD pain. Participants filled out a coping strategies questionnaire (CSQ), the symptom checklist 90 (SCL-90) and McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ). Pain intensity was assessed on an electronic visual analog scale (VAS). Pain-drawing areas, Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) scores of unpleasantness, pressure pain thresholds (PPT) and tolerance (PPTOL) were measured. Unpaired t-tests and correlation tests were used for analyses.
The groups were significantly different when comparing the CSQ scores of control, decrease, diverting attention, increase of behavioral activities and somatization. The peak VAS pain, NRS of unpleasantness and MPQ scores were not significantly different between groups, but PPT and PPTOL were significantly lower in the TMD patients. Significant positive correlations were found in the TMD patients between peak VAS pain and CSQ catastrophizing score and SCL-90 somatization. The scores of PPTs and PPTOLs, in patients showed positive correlations with CSQ reinterpreting pain sensations scores and PPTs correlated with CSQ praying/hoping scores.
Glutamate-evoked pain responses in HS and persistent myofascial TMD pain have similar sensory-discriminative and affective-unpleasantness components but differ in psycho-social features. This study suggests that experimental designs based on glutamate injection into muscle can provide an appropriate model for elucidating persistent myofascial pain conditions.
Orofacial pain; temporomandibular disorders; muscle pain; glutamate; trigeminal physiology; coping strategies questionnaire; catastrophizing; experimental muscle pain model
The objective of this appraisal is to shed light on the various approaches to screen sensory information in the human gut. Understanding and characterization of sensory symptoms in gastrointestinal disorders is poor. Experimental methods allowing the investigator to control stimulus intensity and modality, as well as using validated methods for assessing sensory response have contributed to the understanding of pain mechanisms. Mechanical stimulation based on impedance planimetry allows direct recordings of luminal cross-sectional areas, and combined with ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging, the contribution of different gut layers can be estimated. Electrical stimulation depolarizes free nerve endings non-selectively. Consequently, the stimulation paradigm (single, train, tetanic) influences the involved sensory nerves. Visual controlled electrical stimulation combines the probes with an endoscopic approach, which allows the investigator to inspect and obtain small biopsies from the stimulation site. Thermal stimulation (cold or warm) activates selectively mucosal receptors, and chemical substances such as acid and capsaicin (either alone or in combination) are used to evoke pain and sensitization. The possibility of multimodal (e.g. mechanical, electrical, thermal and chemical) stimulation in different gut segments has developed visceral pain research. The major advantage is involvement of distinctive receptors, various sensory nerves and different pain pathways mimicking clinical pain that favors investigation of central pain mechanisms involved in allodynia, hyperalgesia and referred pain. As impairment of descending control mechanisms partly underlies the pathogenesis in chronic pain, a cold pressor test that indirectly stimulates such control mechanisms can be added. Hence, the methods undoubtedly represent a major step forward in the future characterization and treatment of patients with various diseases of the gut, which provides knowledge to clinicians about the underlying symptoms and treatment of these patients.
Endoscopy; Intestine; Experimental; Neurophysiology; Pain