Back to Journals » Journal of Pain Research » Volume 4

Stability of behavioral estimates of activity-dependent modulation of pain

Authors Alappattu, Bishop M, Bialosky, George S, Robinson M

Published 24 May 2011 Volume 2011:4 Pages 151—157


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Meryl J Alappattu1, Mark D Bishop1, Joel E Bialosky1, Steven Z George1,2, Michael E Robinson2,3
1Department of Physical Therapy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; 2Center for Pain Research and Behavioral Health, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; 3Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

Abstract: Temporal sensory summation of pain (TSSP) is a proxy measure of windup in humans and results in increased ratings of pain caused by a repetitive, low-frequency noxious stimulus. Aftersensations (ASs) are pain sensations that remain after TSSP has been induced. We examined the within-session and across-session variability in TSSP and AS estimation in healthy participants and in participants with exercise-induced muscle pain in order to determine whether the presence of pain affected the stability of TSSP and ASs. TSSP was estimated by application of 10 repetitive, low-frequency (<0.33 Hz) thermal pulses and measured by the simple slope of pain ratings between the first and fifth pulses. ASs were measured by the presence of any remaining pain sensations up to 1 minute after TSSP was induced. TSSP estimation remained moderately stable in pain-free participants and in participants with pain within a single testing session but demonstrated low stability across sessions in pain-free participants. AS estimation was stable for all groups. Estimation of TSSP and ASs using these protocols appears to be a reliable single-session outcome measure in studies of interventions for acute muscle pain and in experimental studies with healthy participants. This article evaluates the reliability of a commonly used method of estimating TSSP and ASs in both healthy participants and in a clinically relevant model of acute pain. These protocols have the potential to be used as single-session outcome measures for interventional studies and in experimental studies.

Keywords: temporal sensory summation of pain, aftersensations, quantitative sensory testing, pain measurement reliability

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.