Determinants of endogenous analgesia magnitude in a diffuse noxious inhibitory control (DNIC) paradigm: do conditioning stimulus painfulness, gender and personality variables matter?
ABSTRACT Descending modulation of pain can be demonstrated psychophysically by dual pain stimulation. This study evaluates in 31 healthy subjects the association between parameters of the conditioning stimulus, gender and personality, and the endogenous analgesia (EA) extent assessed by diffuse noxious inhibitory control (DNIC) paradigm. Contact heat pain was applied as the test stimulus to the non-dominant forearm, with stimulation temperature at a psychophysical intensity score of 60 on a 0-100 numerical pain scale. The conditioning stimulus was a 60s immersion of the dominant hand in cold (12, 15, 18 degrees C), hot (44 and 46.5 degrees C), or skin temperature (33 degrees C) water. The test stimulus was repeated on the non-dominant hand during the last 30s of the conditioning immersion. EA extent was calculated as the difference between pain scores of the two test stimuli. State and trait anxiety and pain catastrophizing scores were assessed prior to stimulation. EA was induced only for the pain-generating conditioning stimuli at 46.5 degrees C (p=0.011) and 12 degrees C (p=0.003). EA was independent of conditioning pain modality, or personality, but a significant gender effect was found, with greater EA response in males. Importantly, pain scores of the conditioning stimuli were not correlated with EA extent. The latter is based on both our study population, and on additional 82 patients, who participated in another study, in which EA was induced by immersion at 46.5 degrees C. DNIC testing, thus, seems to be relatively independent of the stimulation conditions, making it an easy to apply tool, suitable for wide range applications in pain psychophysics.
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ABSTRACT: Conditioned pain modulation (CPM) is an experimental approach for probing endogenous analgesia by which one painful stimulus (the conditioning stimulus) may inhibit the perceived pain of a subsequent stimulus (the test stimulus). Animal studies suggest that CPM is mediated by a spino-bulbo-spinal loop using objective measures such as neuronal firing. In humans, pain ratings are often used as the end point. Because pain self-reports are subject to cognitive influences, we tested whether cognitive factors would impact on CPM results in healthy humans. We conducted a within-subject, crossover study of healthy adults to determine the extent to which CPM is affected by 1) threatening and reassuring evaluation and 2) imagery alone of a cold conditioning stimulus. We used a heat stimulus individualized to 5/10 on a visual analog scale as the testing stimulus and computed the magnitude of CPM by subtracting the postconditioning rating from the baseline pain rating of the heat stimulus. We found that although evaluation can increase the pain rating of the conditioning stimulus, it did not significantly alter the magnitude of CPM. We also found that imagery of cold pain alone did not result in statistically significant CPM effect. Our results suggest that CPM is primarily dependent on sensory input, and that the cortical processes of evaluation and imagery have little impact on CPM. These findings lend support for CPM as a useful tool for probing endogenous analgesia through subcortical mechanisms.Journal of Pain Research 01/2014; 7:689-697.
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ABSTRACT: Background Previous studies have indicated that the startle reflex is potentiated by phasic, but not by tonic, heat pain, although the latter is seen as more strongly associated with emotional responses and more similar to clinical pain. The threat value of pain might be a decisive variable, which is not influenced alone by stimulus duration.Objective This study aimed at comparing startle responses to tonic heat pain stimulation with varying degrees of threat. We hypothesized that the expectation of unpredictable temperature increases would evoke higher threat and thereby potentiate startle compared with the expectation of constant stimulation.Methods Healthy, pain-free subjects (n = 40) underwent painful stimulation in two conditions (low/high threat) in balanced order. The only difference between the two conditions was that in the high-threat condition 50% of the trials were announced to include a short further noxious temperature increase at the end. Startle tones were presented prior to this temperature increase still in the phase of anticipation.ResultsWe observed startle potentiation in the high-threat compared with the low-threat condition, but only in those participants who took part first in the high-threat condition. Habituation could not account for these findings, as we detected no significant decline of startle responses in the course of both conditions.Conclusions Our results suggest that subjective threat might indeed be decisive for the action of pain on startle; the threat level appears not only influenced by actual expectations but also by previous experiences with pain as threatening or not.European journal of pain (London, England) 06/2014; 19(2). · 3.37 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Protocols for testing conditioned pain modulation (CPM) vary between different labs/clinics. In order to promote research and clinical application of this tool, we summarize the recommendations of interested researchers consensus meeting regarding the practice of CPM and report of its results.European journal of pain (London, England) 10/2014; · 3.37 Impact Factor