Hand dominancy--a feature affecting sensitivity to pain.

Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel.
Neuroscience Letters (Impact Factor: 2.06). 10/2009; 467(3):237-40. DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2009.10.048
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Hand dominancy (i.e. handedness) is a factor that should be considered for further characterizing individual variations in sensitivity to pain. The aim of the present study was to examine the contribution of handedness and gender to sensitivity to tonic cold pain in healthy subjects. Participants were 109 healthy volunteers (52 males and 57 females), of whom 65 were right-handed and 44 left-handed. Subjects were exposed to the cold pressor test (1 degrees C) for both hands while measuring the cold pain threshold, intensity, and tolerance. No significant differences were found in pain threshold or intensity between the right versus the left hands among either the right-handed or the left-handed subjects. However, among the right-handed subjects only, cold pain tolerance was significantly longer in the right hand than in the left hand (32.9+/-5.1s vs. 27.0+/-4.2s, respectively; p=0.018). Significant differences were found between males and females in pain threshold, but not in pain intensity or tolerance, either when their right or left hand was tested (p=0.027 and p=0.009, respectively). Analyzing pain perception by handedness and gender revealed that the right-handed males were less sensitive to pain in their right versus their left hand, as determined by lower pain intensity (p=0.031) and longer tolerance (p=0.047). No significant differences were found among the left-handed males or among the females. The results provide further evidence that handedness is one vital feature that should be considered more often when designing a psychophysical study. This may lead towards improving the translation of laboratory research findings to the clinical setting.

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    ABSTRACT: We explored the social-signaling hypothesis that variability in exogenous pain sensitivities across the menstrual cycle is moderated by women's current romantic relationship status and hence the availability of a solicitous social partner for expressing pain behaviors in regular, isochronal ways. In two studies, we used the menstrual calendars of healthy women to provide a detailed approximation of the women's probability of conception based on their current cycle-day, along with relationship status, and cold pressor pain and ischemic pain sensitivities, respectively. In the first study (n = 135; 18-46 yrs., Mage = 23 yrs., 50% natural cycling), we found that naturally-cycling, pair-bonded women showed a positive correlation between the probability of conception and ischemic pain intensity (r = .45), associations not found for single women or hormonal contraceptive-users. A second study (n = 107; 19-29 yrs., Mage = 20 yrs., 56% natural cycling) showed a similar association between greater conception risk and higher cold-pressor pain intensity in naturally-cycling, pair-bonded women only (r = .63). The findings show that variability in exogenous pain sensitivities across different fertility phases of the menstrual cycle is contingent on basic elements of women's social environment and inversely correspond to variability in naturally occurring, perimenstrual symptoms. These findings have wide-ranging implications for: a) standardizing pain measurement protocols; b) understanding basic biopsychosocial pain-related processes; c) addressing clinical pain experiences in women; and d) understanding how pain influences, and is influenced by, social relationships.
    PLoS ONE 03/2014; 9(3):e91993. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background The association of pain and socioeconomic status is widely reported, yet much less clearly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of experimentally induced pain threshold and tolerance with socioeconomic status. Material and Methods The study sample consisted of 319 adult subjects from the population of the island of Vis, Croatia, which was previously shown to have a high level of social homogeneity. A manual dolorimeter was used to measure mechanical pressure pain threshold (least stimulus intensity) and pain tolerance (maximum tolerance stimulus intensity) on both hands. Pain tolerance interval was defined as the difference between pain tolerance and threshold. Years of schooling and material status were used as socioeconomic estimates. Results Both of the socioeconomic estimates were significantly correlated with pain threshold, tolerance, and tolerance interval (P<0.001). The mixed modeling analysis, controlled for the effects of age, gender, and 4 psychological variables, indicated that education was not a significant predictor in any of the 3 models. However, lower material status was significantly associated with lower pain tolerance (P=0.038) and narrower pain tolerance interval (P=0.032), but not with pain threshold (P=0.506). The overall percentages of explained variance were lower in the tolerance interval model (20.2%) than in pain tolerance (23.1%) and threshold (33.1%), suggesting the increasing share of other confounding variables in pain tolerance and even more so in tolerance interval model. Conclusions These results suggest a significant association between experimentally induced pain tolerance and tolerance interval with material status, suggesting that poor people indeed do hurt more.
    Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research 01/2014; 20:1232-8. · 1.22 Impact Factor
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