Cortical Sensorimotor Processing of Painful Pressure in Patients with Chronic Lower Back Pain – An Optical Neuroimaging Study using fNIRS
Meier, Michael L.
Humphreys, Barry K.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
In this study we investigated sensorimotor processing of painful pressure stimulation on the lower back of patients with chronic lower back pain (CLBP) by using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to measure changes in cerebral hemodynamics and oxygenation. The main objectives were whether patients with CLBP show different relative changes in oxy- and deoxyhemoglobin ([O2Hb] and [HHb]) in the supplementary motor area (SMA) and primary somatosensory cortex (S1) compared to healthy controls (HC). Twelve patients with CLBP (32 ± 6.1 years; range: 24–44 years; nine women) and 20 HCs (33.5 ± 10.7 years; range 22–61 years; eight women) participated in the study. Painful and non-painful pressure stimulation was exerted with a thumb grip perpendicularly to the spinous process of the lumbar spine. A force sensor was attached at the spinous process in order to control pressure forces. Tactile stimulation was realized by a one-finger brushing. Hemodynamic changes in the SMA and S1 were measured bilaterally using a multi-channel continuous wave fNIRS imaging system and a multi-distant probe array. Patients with CLBP showed significant stimulus-evoked hemodynamic responses in [O2Hb] only in the right S1, while the HC exhibited significant [O2Hb] changes bilaterally in both, SMA and S1. However, the group comparisons revealed no significant different hemodynamic responses in [O2Hb] and [HHb] in the SMA and S1 after both pressure stimulations. This non-significant result might be driven by the high inter-subject variability of hemodynamic responses that has been observed within the patients group. In conclusion, we could not find different stimulus-evoked hemodynamic responses in patients with CLBP compared to HCs. This indicates that neither S1 nor the SMA show a specificity for CLBP during pressure stimulation on the lower back. However, the results point to a potential subgrouping regarding task-related cortical activity within the CLBP group; a finding worth further research Show more
Journal / seriesFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Pages / Article No.
PublisherFrontiers Research Foundation
SubjectFunctional near-infrared spectroscopy; Back pain; Hemodynamic response; Sensorimotor cortex; Chronic pain
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