Measures of central sensitisation and their measurement properties in the adult musculoskeletal trauma population: a protocol for a systematic review and data synthesis

BMJ Open. 2019 Mar 23;9(3):e023204. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023204.


Introduction: Pain following musculoskeletal trauma is common with poor outcomes and disability well documented. Pain is complex in nature and can include the four primary mechanisms of pain: nociceptive, neuropathic, inflammatory and central sensitisation (CS). CS can be measured in multiple ways; however, no systematic review has evaluated the measurement properties of such measures in the musculoskeletal trauma population. This systematic review aims to evaluate the measurement properties of current measures of CS in this population.

Methods/analysis: This protocol is informed and reported in line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis-P. MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, ZETOC, Web of Science, PubMed and Google Scholar as well as key journals and grey literature will be searched in two stages to (1) identify what measures are being used to assess CS in this population and (2) evaluate the measurement properties of the identified measures. Two independent reviewers will conduct the search, extract the data, assess risk of bias for included studies and assess overall quality. The Consensus-based Standards for the selection of Health Measurement Instruments Risk of Bias Checklist and a modified Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation guidelines will be used. Meta-analysis will be conducted if deemed appropriate. Alternatively, a narrative synthesis will be conducted and summarised per measurement property per outcome measure.

Ethics and dissemination: This review will aid clinicians in using the most appropriate tool for assessing central sensitisation in this population and is the first step towards a more standardised approach in pain assessment. The results of this study will be submitted to a peer reviewed journal and presented at conferences.

Prospero registrationnumber: CRD42018091531.

Keywords: central sensitisation; measurement properties; musculoskeletal trauma; pain assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Central Nervous System Sensitization / physiology*
  • Chronic Pain / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / physiopathology*
  • Research Design
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic