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Pain quality descriptors and sex-related differences in patients with shoulder pain

Authors Rau CL, Yang JL, Lin JJ, Wu PC, Hou CY, Song CY, Hsieh CL

Received 22 March 2018

Accepted for publication 23 May 2018

Published 11 September 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 1803—1809


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr E Alfonso Romero-Sandoval

Chi-Lun Rau,1 Jing-Lan Yang,2 Jiu-Jenq Lin,2,3 Pei-Chi Wu,4 Chieh-Yi Hou,5 Chen-Yi Song,6 Ching-Lin Hsieh2,7,8

1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Shuang Ho Hospital, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan; 2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taiwan; 3School and Graduate Institute of Physical Therapy, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taiwan; 4Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, E-Da Hospital, Taiwan; 5Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, E-Da Cancer Hospital, Taiwan; 6Department of Long-Term Care, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences, Taiwan; 7School of Occupational Therapy, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taiwan; 8Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Medical and Health Science, Asia University, Taiwan

Background: Pain quality assessment is applicable to pain evaluation and treatment. However, shoulder pain quality descriptors mostly remain unknown. Furthermore, sex-related differences considerably affect clinical pain experience. The aim of this study was to investigate pain quality descriptors and to compare sex-related differences in using pain descriptors among patients with shoulder pain.
Materials and methods: A sample of 120 patients (41 males and 79 females) with shoulder pain was recruited from Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Shoulder pain quality descriptors were investigated using a 36-item pain quality list. Sex-related differences in the number and frequency of pain quality descriptors were compared using independent t-test and X2 test, respectively.
Results: Fifteen commonly used shoulder pain quality descriptors were identified. Among them, “sore” was the most frequently used, followed by “pulled”. Deep pain sensations (eg, sore, pulled, torsion, and taut) were relatively more predominant than superficial pain sensations (eg, pricking and lacerating). In terms of sex-related differences, female patients used more pain quality descriptors than the male patients (5.5 vs 3.7, P<0.001). The frequency of paroxysmal, dullness, and constriction-related pain quality descriptors, such as “shooting”, “faint”, “clicking”, and “squeezing”, were higher in females than in males (all P<0.05).
Conclusion: The results provide commonly used shoulder pain quality descriptors that are useful for assessing shoulder pain and for developing a new shoulder pain assessment tool. Because the shoulder pain quality profiles differed between male and female participants, clinicians and researchers should consider sex-related differences in assessing and treating shoulder pain.

Keywords: pain assessment, measurement, musculoskeletal pain, culture

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