Conditioned Pain Modulation Decreases Over Time in Patients With Neuropathic Pain Following a Spinal Cord Injury
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
Background Neuropathic pain is a major problem following spinal cord injury (SCI). Central mechanisms involved in the modulation of nociceptive signals have been shown to be altered at the chronic stage, and it has been hypothesized that they might play a role in the development of chronic pain. Objective This prospective longitudinal study aimed to describe the evolution of pain modulation mechanisms over time after SCI, and to explore the relationships with the presence of clinical (neuropathic and musculoskeletal) pain. Methods Patients with an SCI were assessed on admission (n = 35; average of 38 days postinjury) and discharge (n = 25; average of 131 days postinjury) using the International Spinal Cord Injury Pain Basic Data Set. Conditioned pain modulation was assessed using the cold pressor test (10 °C; 120 s) as the conditioning stimulus and tonic heat pain, applied above the level of injury, as the test stimulus (120 s). Heat pain threshold was also assessed. Results A marked decrease in the efficacy of conditioned pain modulation was observed over time, with 30.2% of inhibition at admission and only 12.9% at discharge on average (P = .010). This decrease was observed only in patients already suffering from neuropathic pain at admission and was not explained by a general increase in sensitivity to thermal nociceptive stimuli. Conclusion These results suggest that the presence of neuropathic pain leads to a decrease in conditioned pain modulation over time, rather than supporting the hypothesis that inefficient conditioned pain modulation mechanisms are leading to the development of neuropathic pain. Show more
Journal / seriesNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Pages / Article No.
Subjectconditioned pain modulation; heterotopic noxious counter-stimulation; central pain; longitudinal design; trauma
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