Author(s): Peters ML, Schmidt AJ, Van den Hout MA, Koopmans R, Sluijter ME
Abstract Share this page
Abstract The effect of the presence of either chronic or acute clinical pain on pain threshold and on the nociceptive flexion reflex (RIII) threshold was studied. The experimental pain sensation and the flexion reflex were evoked by trains of short electrical pulses. It was hypothesized that both kinds of clinical pain would be able to induce 'diffuse noxious inhibitory controls' (DNIC) and thereby raise the 2 experimental thresholds. Patients with chronic low back pain, patients with postoperative pain from oral surgery, and pain-free subjects were tested in 3 conditions: during baseline, after i.v. administration of a placebo, and after i.v. administration of naloxone. In comparison with 2 pain-free control groups, the 2 pain groups had a significantly higher pain threshold in all conditions. However, the RIII threshold was not significantly elevated in chronic or acute pain patients compared to controls. Naloxone had no effect on the RIII or pain threshold in any of the groups. It is concluded that the increased pain threshold which is frequently found in chronic pain patients, and which could be confirmed in the present study, does not result from a DNIC effect. The adaptation level theory offers an alternative explanation. Also, the acute postoperative pain in this study did not seem to induce DNIC. Because other forms of acute pain have been found to be effective in activating DNIC, future research should establish which pains are and which pains are not effective.
This article was published in Pain
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism