The goal of this longitudinal study was to examine the associations among psychological factors and pain reports of children and their parents over the 12 month period after pediatric surgery.
Materials and methods
Included in the study were 83 children aged 8–18 years undergoing major surgery. In each case, the child and one of their parents completed measures of pain intensity and unpleasantness, psychological function, and functional disability at 48–72 hours, 2 weeks (child only), 6 months, and 12 months after surgery.
The strength of the correlation coefficients between the psychological measures of the parent and their child increased significantly over time. There was a fair level of agreement between parent ratings of child acute and chronic pain (6 months after surgery) and the child’s actual ratings. Parent and child pain anxiety scores 48–72 hours after surgery interacted significantly to predict pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, and functional disability levels 2 weeks after discharge from hospital. Parent pain catastrophizing scores 48–72 hours after surgery predicted child pain intensity reports 12 months later.
These results raise the possibility that as time from surgery increases, parents exert greater and greater influence over the pain response of their children, so that by 12 months postsurgery mark, parent pain catastrophizing (measured in the days after surgery) is the main risk factor for the development of postsurgical pain chronicity.
pain anxiety; pain catastrophizing; children; parental risk factors; postsurgical pain
Pain is an intricate phenomenon composed of not only sensory-discriminative aspects but also of emotional, cognitive, motivational, and affective components. There has been ample evidence for the existence of an extensive cortical network associated with pain processing over the last few decades. This network includes the anterior cingulate cortex, forebrain, insular cortex, ventrolateral orbital cortex, somatosensory cortex, occipital cortex, retrosplenial cortex, motor cortex, and prefrontal cortex. Diverse neurotransmitters participate in the cortical circuits associated with pain processing, including glutamate, gamma-aminobutyric acid, dopamine, and opioids. This work examines recent rodent studies about cortical modulation of pain, mainly at a molecular level.
pain; glutamate; glia; cingulate cortex; somatosensory cortex; insular cortex
Central post-stroke pain (CPSP) is still an underestimated complication of stroke, resulting in impaired quality of life and, in addition to the functional and cognitive consequences of stroke, the presence of CPSP may be associated with mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. This type of pain may also impair activities of daily living and further worsen quality of life, negatively influencing the rehabilitation process. The prevalence of CSPS in the literature is highly variable (1%–12%) according to different studies, and this variability could be influenced by selection criteria and the different ethnic populations being investigated. With this scenario in mind, we performed a population-based study to assess the prevalence of CPSP and its main features in a homogeneous health district (Rimini, Italy), including five hospitals for a total population of 329,970 inhabitants. From 2008 to 2010, we selected 1,494 post-stroke patients and were able to interview 660 patients, 66 (11%) of whom reported pain with related tactile and thermal hyperesthesia, accompanied by needle puncture, tingling, swelling, and pressure sensations. Patients reported motor impairment and disability, which influenced their working ability, rehabilitation, and social life. Despite this severe pain state, there was a high percentage of patients who did not receive adequate treatment for pain.
stroke; central post-stroke pain; disability
This study compares the incidence, nature, and impact of persistent post-surgical pain after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and total hip arthroplasty (THA) and investigates differences between these procedures, with the focus on potential presurgical and post-surgical issues that could be related to the distinct persistent post-surgical pain outcomes between these two groups. A consecutive sample of 92 patients was assessed prospectively 24 hours before, 48 hours, and 4–6 months after surgery. The data show that TKA patients had a higher likelihood of developing persistent post-surgical pain, of reporting higher pain levels, and of using more neuropathic descriptors when classifying their pain. In addition, TKA patients more often reported interference from pain on functional domains, including general activity, walking ability, and normal work. Demographic factors, like gender and age, along with presurgical clinical factors like disease onset, existence of medical comorbidities, and other pain problems, may have contributed to these differences, whereas baseline psychologic factors and functionality levels did not seem to exert an influence. Heightened acute post-surgical pain experience among TKA patients could also be related to distinct outcomes for persistent post-surgical pain. Future prospective studies should therefore collect TKA and THA samples wherein patients are homogeneous for demographic and presurgical clinical issues. Overall, these findings contribute to a small but growing body of literature documenting persistent post-surgical pain after major arthroplasty, conducted in different countries and across different health care settings.
total knee arthroplasty; total hip arthroplasty; persistent post-surgical pain; demographic factors; clinical factors; psychologic factors
The primary assessment tool used by hospitals to measure the outcomes of pain management programs is the 0–10 numerical pain rating scale. However, it is unclear if this assessment should be used as the sole indicator of positive outcomes by pain management programs. Although it is assumed that pain intensity scores would be correlated with patient satisfaction, few studies have evaluated the association between pain intensity scores and patient satisfaction.
In this pilot study, we investigated the relationship between pain intensity and patient satisfaction by evaluating 88 patients who received opioid analgesics at a 1018-bed acute care institution. A 14-question survey was adapted from a questionnaire developed by the American Pain Society to assess patient pain control and overall satisfaction with our institution’s pain management strategies.
This study found no association between pain intensity score and patient satisfaction with overall pain management (Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient = −0.31; 95% confidence interval = −0.79 to 0.39). The majority of the surveyed patients were satisfied or very satisfied with their overall pain management, regardless of their pain intensity score.
These findings contribute to the general understanding that institutions should use pain intensity scores together with a measure of patient pain satisfaction when assessing regulatory and quality control programs.
pain management; pain assessment; pain intensity scores; perception; measurement; HCAHPS survey
Although there are screening tools to aid clinicians in assessing the risk of opioid misuse, an instrument to assess opioid-related knowledge is not currently available. The purpose of this study was to develop a content-valid, understandable, readable, and reliable Patient Opioid Education Measure (POEM).
Using concept mapping, clinicians caring for patients with chronic pain participated in brainstorming, sorting, and rating need-to-know information for patients prescribed opioids. Concept mapping analyses identified seven clusters addressing knowledge and expectations associated with opioid use, including medicolegal issues, prescribing policies, safe use and handling, expected outcomes, side effects, pharmacology, and warnings.
The 49-item POEM was verbally administered to 83 patients (average age 51.3 ± 9.8 years, 77.1% female, 47.1% African American) taking opioids for chronic nonmalignant pain. Patients averaged in total 63.9% ± 14.3% (range 23%–91%) correct responses on the POEM. The POEM demonstrated substantial test-retest reliability (interclass correlation coefficient 0.87). The POEM had a mean readability Lexile (L) score of 805.9 ± 257.3 L (equivalent to approximately a US fifth grade reading level), with individual items ranging from 280 L to 1370 L.
The POEM shows promise for rapidly identifying patients’ opioid-related knowledge gaps and expectations. Correcting misunderstandings and gaps could result in safer use of opioids in a clinical care setting.
opioid; knowledge; pain; questionnaire
As pain during childbirth is very intense, several educational programs exist to help women prepare for the event. This study evaluates the efficacy of a specific pain management program, the Bonapace Method (BM), to reduce the perception of pain during childbirth. The BM involves the father, or a significant partner, in the use of several pain control techniques based on three neurophysiological pain modulation models: (1) controlling the central nervous system through breathing, relaxation, and cognitive structuring; (2) using non-painful stimuli as described in the Gate Control Theory; and (3) recruiting descending inhibition by hyperstimulation of acupressure trigger points.
A multicenter case control study in Quebec on pain perception during labor and delivery compared traditional childbirth training programs (TCTPs) and the BM. Visual analog scales were used to measure pain perception during labor. In all, 25 women (TCTP: n = 12; BM: n = 13) successfully reported their perceptions of pain intensity and unpleasantness every 15 minutes.
A positive correlation between the progression of labor and pain was found (pain intensity: P < 0.01; pain unpleasantness: P < 0.01). When compared to TCTP, the BM showed an overall significant lower pain perception for both intensity (45%; P < 0.01) and unpleasantness (46%; P < 0.01).
These significant differences in pain perception between TCTP and the BM suggest that the emphasis on pain modulation models and techniques during labor combined with the active participation of a partner in BM are important variables to be added to the traditional childbirth training programs for childbirth pain management.
labor pain; yoga; perinatal care; DNIC; gate control theory; cognitive structuring; massage; father
Frequent or chronic tension-type headache in children is a prevalent and debilitating condition for the child, often leading to medication overuse. To explore the relationship between physical factors and tension-type headache in children, the quality of repeated measures was examined. The aim of the present study was to determine the test-retest repeatability of parameters determining isometric neck and shoulder strength and stability, aerobic power, and pericranial tenderness in children.
Twenty-five healthy children, 9 to 18 years of age, participated in test-retest procedures within a 1-week interval. A computerized padded force transducer was used for testing. The tests included the isometric maximal voluntary contraction and force steadiness of neck flexion and extension, and the isometric maximal voluntary contraction and rate of force of the dominant shoulder. Pericranial tenderness was recorded by means of standardized manual palpation, and a submaximal cycle ergometer test predicted maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max). The measurements were evaluated in steps, using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC); changes in the mean between the two test occasions; the levels of agreement, visualized in Bland-Altman Plots; and by quantifying the variability.
The results showed an acceptable test-retest repeatability of isometric maximal voluntary contraction (ICC 0.90–0.97). The force steadiness measurements revealed a trend of systematic changes in the direction of neck flexion and need further examination in both healthy and ill children. The rate of force development, Total Tenderness Score, and prediction of VO2 max showed repeatability, with ICC 0.80–0.87.
The measurements of strength capacity, aerobic power, and tenderness provide acceptable repeatability, suitable for research in children.
muscle strength; intratester reliability; cardiovascular fitness
Every year, over 260,000 patients in the Netherlands are diagnosed with a traumatic fracture. Many patients are treated surgically and need postoperative treatment of pain. Research suggests postoperative pain is often under-treated, leaving a significant proportion of patients in moderate to severe postoperative pain. Specialized, evidence-based pain-management protocols offer patients the best possible pain management, and significantly reduce the risk of pain-related health complications.
Our objective was to review the range of postoperative pain protocols that are currently being used to treat postoperative fracture pain within the Netherlands, and investigate whether a specialized, evidence-based protocol for treating postoperative fracture pain exists within this sample.
A written request for the protocol currently being used for the treatment of postoperative pain following the surgical treatment of a fracture was sent to 101 Dutch hospital departments. The administration and dosage of pain medications used during postoperative pain management were then identified and summarized.
Of the contacted hospitals, 57% sent in protocols; 45% of these were eligible for analysis. All of the departments sent a general or acute pain protocol rather than a specialized protocol for the treatment of postoperative pain associated with the surgical treatment of fractures. A total of 22 different analgesics were used for pain management in 135 different administration schemes. Paracetamol, diclofenac, and morphine were used in the majority of protocols. Medication was given via oral, rectal, intravenous, subcutaneous, intramuscular, and epidural routes, amongst others.
No specialized, evidence-based protocols for the treatment of postoperative fracture pain were found in this Dutch sample. A wide variety of medications, dosages, and administration schemes were used to manage postoperative pain following the surgical treatment of a fracture. The importance of developing a clear, specialized, evidence-based protocol for the treatment of postoperative pain following fracture surgery is discussed.
pain management; postoperative pain; fracture; protocol
The history of development of new concepts in pharmacology is a highly interesting topic. This review discusses scientific insights related to palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) and its progression over a period of six decades, especially in light of the work of the science sociologists, Ludwig Fleck and Thomas Kuhn. The discovery of the cannabis receptors and the nuclear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors was the beginning of a completely new understanding of many important homeostatic physiologic mechanisms in the human body. These discoveries were necessary for us to understand the analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity of PEA, a body-own fatty amide. PEA is a nutrient known already for more than 50 years. PEA is synthesized and metabolized in animal cells via a number of enzymes and has a multitude of physiologic functions related to metabolic homeostasis. PEA was identified in the 1950s as a therapeutic principle with potent anti-inflammatory properties. Since 1975, its analgesic properties have been noted and explored in a variety of chronic pain states. Since 2008, PEA has been available as a nutraceutical under the brand names Normast® and PeaPure®. A literature search on PEA meanwhile has yielded over 350 papers, all referenced in PubMed, describing the physiologic properties of this endogenous modulator and its pharmacologic and therapeutic profile. This review describes the emergence of concepts related to the pharmacologic profile of PEA, with an emphasis on the search into its mechanism of action and the impact of failing to identify such mechanism in the period 1957–1993, on the acceptance of PEA as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic compound.
palmitoylethanolamide; sociology; science; paradigm; peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha; nutraceutical
The aim of the study reported here was to examine health care resource utilization, costs, and risk of rehospitalization for total knee replacement (TKR) patients with and without muscle atrophy/weakness (MAW).
Patients and methods
Individuals aged 50–64 years with commercial insurance or 65+ years with Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medicare) who had a hospitalization for TKR between January 1, 2006 and September 30, 2009 were identified from a large US claims database. First hospitalization for TKR was defined as the index stay. All patients were classified into three cohorts according to when MAW was diagnosed relative to TKR: pre-MAW, post-MAW, and no MAW. The association between MAW and health care costs over the 12-month post-index period and the probability of rehospitalization were assessed via multivariate regressions
The study sample included 53,696 Medicare and 46,058 commercial insurance TKR patients. Controlling for cross-cohort differences, both the pre- and post-MAW cohorts had significantly higher total health care costs (Medicare US$4,201 and US$9,404 higher, commercial insurance US$2,737 and US$6,640 higher, respectively) than the no MAW cohort (all P < 0.05). The post-MAW cohort in both populations was also more likely to have any all-cause or replacement-related rehospitalization compared with the no MAW cohort.
Among US patients undergoing TKR, those with MAW had higher health care utilization and costs than patients without MAW.
rehospitalization; resource utilization; Medicare; health insurance; USA
The use of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) devices to treat chronic, refractory neuropathic pain continues to expand in application. While device-related complications have been well described, inflammatory reactions to the components of these devices remain underreported. In contrast, hypersensitivity reactions associated with other implanted therapies, such as endovascular and cardiac rhythm devices, have been detailed. The purpose of this case series is to describe the clinical presentation and course of inflammatory reactions as well as the histology of these reactions. All patients required removal of the entire device after developing inflammatory reactions over a time course of 1–3 months. Two patients developed a foreign body reaction in the lead insertion wound as well as at the implantable pulse generator site, with histology positive for giant cells. One patient developed an inflammatory dermatitis on the flank and abdomen that resolved with topical hydrocortisone. “In vivo” testing with a lead extension fragment placed in the buttock resulted in a negative reaction followed by successful reimplantation of an SCS device. Inflammatory reactions to SCS devices can manifest as contact dermatitis, granuloma formation, or foreign body reactions with giant cell formation. Tissue diagnosis is essential, and is helpful to differentiate an inflammatory reaction from infection. The role of skin patch testing for 96 hours may not be suited to detect inflammatory giant cell reactions that manifest several weeks post implantation.
spinal cord stimulation; delayed inflammatory responses; foreign body giant cell reactions; contact dermatitis
To examine the analgesic effect of alkaloids in Myristica fragrans seed in a mouse model of acetic acid-induced visceral pain.
Alkaloids were extracted from ground nutmeg seed kernels with 10% acetic acid in 95% ethyl alcohol. Visceral pain was induced in male and female BALB/c mice by intraperitoneal injection of 0.6% acetic acid. Analgesic effect of alkaloids (0.5 gram or 1 gram per kilogram [g/kg], by mouth) was assessed by evaluating writhing response. Acute toxicity was tested in response to 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 g/kg of alkaloid extract; the median lethal dose (LD50) was determined by probit analysis.
Alkaloid extract at a dose of 1 g/kg significantly reduced the number of writhing responses in female, but not male mice; 0.5 g/kg of alkaloid extract had no effect in either sex. The LD50 was 5.1 g/kg. Signs of abnormal behavior, including hypoactivity, unstable gait, and dizziness were seen in animals given a dose of 4 g/kg or higher; abnormal behavior lasted for several hours after administration of the alkaloids.
According to the classification of Loomis and Hayes, M. fragrans seed alkaloids have analgesic activity and are slightly toxic.
analgesic; mice; LD50; acetic acid; visceral pain; nutmeg
Postoperative opioid use following ileostomy reversal procedures contributes to postoperative ileus. We assessed the impact of a liposome bupivacaine-based, opioid-sparing multimodal analgesia regimen versus a standard opioid-based analgesia regimen on postsurgical opioid use. We also assessed health economic outcomes in patients undergoing ileostomy reversal at our institution, which employs an enhanced recovery discharge protocol.
In this single-center, open-label study, patients undergoing ileostomy reversal received postsurgical pain therapy via multimodal analgesia that included a single intraoperative administration of liposome bupivacaine or opioid-based patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) with intravenous morphine or hydromorphone. Rescue analgesia (intravenous [IV] opioids and/or oral opioid + acetaminophen) was available to all patients. Primary efficacy measures included postsurgical opioid use, hospital length of stay (LOS), and hospitalization costs. Secondary measures included: time to first rescue opioid use; patient satisfaction with analgesia; additional medical intervention; and opioid-related adverse events.
Forty-three patients were enrolled and met eligibility criteria (IV opioid PCA group = 20; liposome bupivacaine-based multimodal analgesia group = 23). Postsurgical opioid use was significantly less in the multimodal analgesia group compared with the IV opioid PCA group (mean [standard deviation]: 38 mg [46 mg] versus 68 mg [47 mg]; P = 0.004). Postsurgical LOS between-group differences (median: 3.0 days versus 3.8 days) and geometric mean hospitalization costs (US $6,611 versus US$6,790) favored the multimodal analgesic group but did not achieve statistical significance. Median time to first opioid use was 1.1 hours versus 0.7 hours in the multimodal analgesia and IV opioid PCA groups, respectively; P = 0.035. Two patients in the multimodal analgesia group and one in the IV opioid PCA group experienced opioid-related adverse events.
A liposome bupivacaine-based multimodal analgesic regimen reduced postoperative opioid consumption in patients undergoing ileostomy reversal under a fast-track discharge protocol. A reduction of 21% in LOS (0.8 days) was noted which, although not statistically significant, may be considered clinically meaningful given the already aggressive fast-track discharge program.
surgery; ileostomy; multimodal analgesia; opioid-related adverse events; hospitalization cost; length of stay
Acupressure is an alternative medicine methodology that originated in ancient China. Treatment effects are achieved by stimulating acupuncture points using acute pressure. Acute pressure block of the sciatic nerve is a newly reported analgesic method based on a current neuroscience concept: stimulation of the peripheral nerves increases the pain threshold. Both methods use pressure as an intervention method. Herein, we compare the methodology and mechanism of these two methods, which exhibit several similarities and differences. Acupressure entails variation in the duration of manipulation, and the analgesic effect achieved can be short-or long-term. The acute effect attained with acupressure presents a scope that is very different from that of the chronic effect attained after long-term treatment. This acute effect appears to have some similarities to that achieved with acute pressure block of the sciatic nerve, both in methodology and mechanism. More evidence is needed to determine whether there is a relationship between the two methods.
acupressure; acute pressure block; sciatic nerve; pain
Studies in the United States have found that patients’ sex, race, and age influence the pain assessment and treatment decisions of laypeople and medical professionals. However, there is limited research as to whether people of other nationalities make pain management decisions differently based on demographic characteristics. Therefore, the purpose of the following study was to compare pain assessment and treatment decisions of undergraduate students in Jordan and the United States as a preliminary examination of nationality as a potential proxy for cultural differences in pain decisions.
Virtual human (VH) technology was used to examine the influences of patients’ sex (male or female), race (light-skinned or dark-skinned), and age (younger or older) on students’ pain management decisions. Seventy-five American and 104 Jordanian undergraduate students participated in this web-based study.
American and Jordanian students rated pain intensity higher in females and older adults and were more likely to recommend medical help to these groups, relative to males and younger adults. Furthermore, Jordanian participants rated pain intensity higher and were more likely to recommend medical help for all patient demographic groups (ie, sex, race, age) than American participants.
This is the first cross-national study that compares pain decisions between undergraduate students. The results suggest that sex, race, and age cues are used in pain assessment and treatment by both Americans and Jordanians, with Jordanians more likely to rate pain higher and recommend medical help to patients. Additional research is needed to determine the cultural determinants of these differences.
pain management; pain disparities; nationality; stereotypes; biases
Neuropathic pain is difficult to treat and can have a severe effect on quality of life. The capsaicin 8% patch is a novel treatment option that directly targets the source of peripheral neuropathic pain. It can provide pain relief for up to 12 weeks in patients with peripheral neuropathic pain. Treatment with the capsaicin 8% patch follows a clearly defined procedure, and patch application must be carried out by a physician or a health care professional under the supervision of a physician. Nonetheless, in our experience, nurses often take the lead role in capsaicin 8% patch application without the involvement of a physician. We believe that the nurse’s key role is of benefit to the patients, as he or she may be better placed, because of time constraints and patient relationships, to support the patient through the application procedure than a physician. Moreover, a number of frequently prescribed drugs, including botulinum toxin and infliximab, can be administered by health care professionals without the requirement for physician supervision. Here we argue that current guidance should be amended to remove the requirement for physician supervision during application of the capsaicin 8% patch.
capsaicin; neuropathic pain; topical; health care professional; physician; nurse
The pain of patellar tendinopathy (PT) may be mediated by neuronal glutamate and sodium channels. Lidocaine and tetracaine block both of these channels. This study tested the self-heated lidocaine-tetracaine patch (HLT patch) in patients with PT confirmed by physical examination to determine if the HLT patch might relieve pain and improve function.
Thirteen patients with PT pain of ≥14 days’ duration and baseline average pain scores ≥4 (on a 0–10 scale) enrolled in and completed this prospective, single-center pilot study. Patients applied one HLT patch to the affected knee twice daily for 2–4 hours for a total of 14 days. Change in average pain intensity and interference (Victorian Institute of Sport Assessment [VISA]) scores from baseline to day 14 were assessed. No statistical inference testing was performed.
Average pain scores declined from 5.5 ± 1.3 (mean ± standard deviation) at baseline to 3.8 ± 2.5 on day 14. Similarly, VISA scores improved from 45.2 ± 14.4 at baseline to 54.3 ± 24.5 on day 14. A clinically important reduction in pain score (≥30%) was demonstrated by 54% of patients.
The results of this pilot study suggest that topical treatment that targets neuronal sodium and glutamate channels may be useful in the treatment of PT.
patellar tendinopathy; patellar tendinosis; heated lidocaine; tetracaine patch; topical analgesic patch; knee pain
Opioid analgesics are effective for postsurgical pain but are associated with opioid-related adverse events, creating a significant clinical and economic burden. Gastrointestinal surgery patients are at high risk for opioid-related adverse events. We conducted a study to assess the impact of an opioid-sparing multimodal analgesia regimen with liposome bupivacaine, compared with the standard of care (intravenous [IV] opioid-based, patient-controlled analgesia [PCA]) on postsurgical opioid use and health economic outcomes in patients undergoing ileostomy reversal.
In this open-label, multicenter study, sequential cohorts of patients undergoing ileostomy reversal received IV opioid PCA (first cohort); or multimodal analgesia including a single intraoperative administration of liposome bupivacaine (second cohort). Rescue analgesia was available to all patients. Primary outcome measures were postsurgical opioid use, hospital length of stay, and hospitalization costs. Incidence of opioid-related adverse events was also assessed.
Twenty-seven patients were enrolled, underwent the planned surgery, and did not meet any intraoperative exclusion criteria; 16 received liposome bupivacaine-based multimodal analgesia and eleven received the standard IV opioid PCA regimen. The multimodal regimen was associated with significant reductions in opioid use compared with the IV opioid PCA regimen (mean, 20 mg versus 112 mg; median, 6 mg versus 48 mg, respectively; P < 0.01), postsurgical length of stay (median, 3.0 days versus 5.1 days, respectively; P < 0.001), and hospitalization costs (geometric mean, $6482 versus $9282, respectively; P = 0.01).
A liposome bupivacaine-based multimodal analgesic regimen resulted in statistically significant and clinically meaningful reductions in opioid consumption, shorter length of stay, and lower inpatient costs than an IV opioid-based analgesic regimen.
surgery; ileostomy; multimodal analgesia; opioid-related adverse events; hospitalization cost; length of stay
To determine if an oral, tapered methylprednisolone regimen is superior to other commonly used pharmacologic interventions for the treatment of central post-stroke pain (CPSP).
Patients and methods
In this study, the charts of 146 stroke patients admitted to acute inpatient rehabilitation were retrospectively reviewed. Patients diagnosed with CPSP underwent further chart review to assess numerical rating scale for pain scores and as-needed pain medication usage at different time points comparing CPSP patients treated with methylprednisolone to those treated with other pharmacologic interventions.
In the sample, 8.2% were diagnosed with CPSP during acute care or inpatient rehabilitation. Mean numerical rating scale for pain scores day of symptom onset did not differ between those patients treated with methylprednisolone versus those treated with other pharmacologic interventions (mean ± standard deviation; 6.1 ± 2.3 versus 5.7 ± 1.6, P = 0.77). However, mean numerical rating scale for pain scores differed significantly 1-day after treatment initiation (1.7 ± 2.1 versus 5.0 ± 1.9, P = 0.03) and 1-day prior to rehabilitation discharge (0.3 ± 0.9 versus 4.1 ± 3.2, P = 0.01) between the two groups. Compared to day of symptom onset, as-needed pain medication usage within the methylprednisolone group was marginally less 1-day after treatment initiation (Z = −1.73, P = 0.08) and 1-day prior to rehabilitation discharge (Z = −1.89, P = 0.06). No difference in as-needed pain medication usage existed within the non-steroid group at the same time points.
Methylprednisolone is a potential therapeutic option for CPSP. The findings herein warrant study in prospective trials.
stroke; pain; central post-stroke pain; complex regional pain syndromes; therapeutics; neuralgia
Management of neuropathic pain (NeP) associated with spinal cord injury (SCI) is difficult. This report presents a systematic literature review and comparison of the efficacy and safety of pharmacologic therapies for treating SCI-associated NeP.
Medline, Embase, Cochrane, and Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects were searched through December 2011 for randomized, blinded, and controlled clinical trials of SCI-associated NeP meeting predefined inclusion criteria. Efficacy outcomes of interest were pain reduction on the 11-point numeric rating scale (NRS) or 100 mm visual analog scale and proportion of patients achieving ≥30% or ≥50% pain reduction. Discontinuations and adverse events (AEs) were also assessed, for which Bayesian meta-analytic indirect comparisons were performed.
Of the nine studies included in the analysis, samples were <100 patients, except for one pregabalin study (n = 136). Standard errors for the NRS outcome were often not reported, precluding quantitative comparisons across treatments. Estimated 11-point NRS pain reduction relative to placebo was −1.72 for pregabalin, −1.65 for amitriptyline, −1.0 for duloxetine, −1 (median) for levetiracetam, −0.27 for gabapentin, 1 (median) for lamotrigine, and 2 for dronabinol. Risk ratios relative to placebo for 30% improvement were 0.71 for levetiracetam and 2.56 for pregabalin, and 0.94 and 2.91, respectively, for 50% improvement. Meta-analytic comparisons showed significantly more AEs with pregabalin and tramadol compared with placebo, and no differences between placebo and any treatment for discontinuations.
Studies of SCI-associated NeP were few, small, and reported insufficient data for quantitative comparisons of efficacy. However, available data suggested pregabalin was associated with more favorable efficacy for all outcome measures examined, and that the risks of AEs and discontinuations were found to be similar among the therapies.
neuropathic pain; spinal cord injury; systematic review; indirect comparison; pharmacologic management
Waiting list management at chronic pain clinics has become a serious problem throughout Canada. We analyzed the waiting list at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) Pain Centre.
The present study is an observational, prospective study. We used a specifically designed survey questionnaire. Survey findings were analyzed with descriptive statistical methods.
A total of 270 patients were contacted; only 146 were included. Of these, 93 were women and 53 men. The average age was 55.9 years. Fifty-two percent of the patients were referred by a medical specialist; 34% by family physicians; 3% for emergency; and 11% unknown. The mean for pain score was 6.7/10. Seventy-three percent were taking pain killers with an average improvement on their pain score of 52%. Ten percent of respondents were not taking any type of analgesic medication, while 17% were taking over-the-counter drugs. Fifty-three percent of the patients had been suffering from chronic pain for 5 years or less, while 10% had been suffering and awaiting specialized pain treatment for more than 20 years.
Our data suggests that accessibility to specialized health care is not the sole obstacle to the timely and effective management of chronic pain. Seventy-three percent of the patients were taking some form of pharmaceutical treatment for pain and reported an average improvement rate of 52% on their pain score under medication. Such inconsistency may be attributable to patients’ lack of compliance with their treatment. The World Health Organization Working Group recommended in chronic patients a novel approach to health care, based on patient therapeutic education. Our results show that patients need to acquire self-management skills regarding their chronic conditions.
chronic pain clinics; waiting list management; patient referral; waiting list demographics
Sacroiliac joint pain is a common cause of chronic low back pain. Different techniques for radiofrequency denervation of the sacroiliac joint have been used to treat this condition. However, results have been inconsistent because the variable sensory supply to the sacroiliac joint is difficult to disrupt completely using conventional radiofrequency. Cooled radiofrequency is a novel technique that uses internally cooled radiofrequency probes to enlarge lesion size, thereby increasing the chance of completely denervating the sacroiliac joint. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of cooled radiofrequency denervation using the SInergy™ cooled radiofrequency system for sacroiliac joint pain.
The charts of 20 patients with chronic sacroiliac joint pain who had undergone denervation using the SInergy™ cooled radiofrequency system were reviewed at two years following the procedure. Outcome measures included the Numeric Rating Scale for pain intensity, Patient Global Impression of Change, and Global Perceived Effect for patient satisfaction.
Fifteen of 20 patients showed a significant reduction in pain (a decrease of at least three points on the Numeric Rating Scale). Mean Numeric Rating Scale for pain decreased from 7.4 ± 1.4 to 3.1 ± 2.5, mean Patient Global Impression of Change was “improved” (1.4 ± 1.5), and Global Perceived Effect was reported to be positive in 16 patients at two years following the procedure.
Cooled radiofrequency denervation showed long-term efficacy for up to two years in the treatment of sacroiliac joint pain.
ablation; chronic low back pain; intervention; neurotomy; sacroiliitis
For the past 30 years, opioids have been used to treat chronic nonmalignant pain. This study tests the following hypotheses: (1) there is no strong evidence-based foundation for the conclusion that long-term opioid treatment of chronic nonmalignant pain is effective; and (2) the main problem associated with the safety of such treatment – assessment of the risk of addiction – has been neglected.
Scientometric analysis of the articles representing clinical research in this area was performed to assess (1) the quality of presented evidence (type of study); and (2) the duration of the treatment phase. The sufficiency of representation of addiction was assessed by counting the number of articles that represent (1) editorials; (2) articles in the top specialty journals; and (3) articles with titles clearly indicating that the addiction-related safety is involved (topic-in-title articles).
Not a single randomized controlled trial with opioid treatment lasting >3 months was found. All studies with a duration of opioid treatment ≥6 months (n = 16) were conducted without a proper control group. Such studies cannot provide the consistent good-quality evidence necessary for a strong clinical recommendation. There were profound differences in the number of addiction articles related specifically to chronic nonmalignant pain patients and to opioid addiction in general. An inadequate number of chronic pain-related publications were observed with all three types of counted articles: editorials, articles in the top specialty journals, and topic-in-title articles.
There is no strong evidence-based foundation for the conclusion that long-term opioid treatment of chronic nonmalignant pain is effective. The above identified signs indicating neglect of addiction associated with the opioid treatment of chronic nonmalignant pain were present.
addiction; chronic pain; neuropathic pain; opioids; overdose death; quality of evidence; treatment efficacy