Effects of a Pain Catastrophizing Induction on Sensory Testing in Women with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Pilot Study

Pain Res Manag. 2017;2017:7892494. doi: 10.1155/2017/7892494. Epub 2017 Feb 28.

Abstract

Pain catastrophizing, a pattern of negative cognitive-emotional responses to actual or anticipated pain, maintains chronic pain and undermines response to treatments. Currently, precisely how pain catastrophizing influences pain processing is not well understood. In experimental settings, pain catastrophizing has been associated with amplified pain processing. This study sought to clarify pain processing mechanisms via experimental induction of pain catastrophizing. Forty women with chronic low back pain were assigned in blocks to an experimental condition, either a psychologist-led 10-minute pain catastrophizing induction or a control (10-minute rest period). All participants underwent a baseline round of several quantitative sensory testing (QST) tasks, followed by the pain catastrophizing induction or the rest period, and then a second round of the same QST tasks. The catastrophizing induction appeared to increase state pain catastrophizing levels. Changes in QST pain were detected for two of the QST tasks administered, weighted pin pain and mechanical allodynia. Although there is a need to replicate our preliminary results with a larger sample, study findings suggest a potential relationship between induced pain catastrophizing and central sensitization of pain. Clarification of the mechanisms through which catastrophizing affects pain modulatory systems may yield useful clinical insights into the treatment of chronic pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Catastrophization / physiopathology*
  • Chronic Pain
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperalgesia / physiopathology
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology*
  • Low Back Pain / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Threshold / physiology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Random Allocation
  • Sensation / physiology*