Human experimental pain models 2: the cold pressor model

Methods Mol Biol. 2010;617:165-8. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60327-323-7_13.


The cold pressor test is a reliable pain model in which subjects submerge their hands and forearms into ice water while onset to pain, pain intensity, and tolerance are assessed. Although originally developed as a model for hypertension, the paradigm leads to development of reproducible pain responses allowing assessment to analgesic medications. However, analgesic variability to various medications has been observed. A recent study suggests that methodological discrepancies may contribute to such inconsistencies. The model may be more reproducible by utilizing consistent protocols.

MeSH terms

  • Cold Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain Measurement* / instrumentation
  • Pain Measurement* / methods
  • Pain Threshold