Motor- and pain-related processes separately induce a reduction in alpha and beta power. When movement and pain occur simultaneously but are independent of each other, the effects on alpha and beta power are additive. It is not clear whether this additive effect is evident during motor-evoked pain in individuals with chronic pain. We combined highdensity electroencephalography (EEG) with a paradigm in which motor-evoked pain was induced during a jaw force task. Participants with chronic jaw pain and pain-free controls produced jaw force at 2% and 15% of their maximum voluntary contraction. The chronic jaw pain group showed exacerbated motor-evoked pain as force amplitude increased and showed increased motor variability and motor error irrespective of force amplitude. The chronic jaw pain group had an attenuated decrease in power in alpha and lower-beta frequencies in the occipital cortex during the anticipation and experience of motor-evoked pain. Rather than being additive, motor-evoked pain attenuated the modulation of alpha and beta power, and this was most evident in occipital cortex. Our findings provide the first evidence of changes in neural oscillations in the cortex during motor-evoked jaw pain.
Keywords: Chronic jaw pain; EEG; Motor system; Motor-evoked pain; Neural oscillations.
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