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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2006 Mar;31(3):262-9.

Effects of a brief coping skills training intervention on nociceptive flexion reflex threshold in patients having osteoarthritic knee pain: a preliminary laboratory study of sex differences.

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Department of Psychology, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.


Studies have documented the efficacy of coping skills training (CST) for managing pain, distress, and disability in persons with arthritis. However, no laboratory studies have examined the effects of CST on descending modulation of nociception. This study used the nociceptive flexion reflex (NFR) to document pain and nociceptive responding among 62 men and women with osteoarthritis of the knee (mean age=63.3+/-7.5 years). Before and after a 45-minute CST session, participants completed laboratory assessments of NFR threshold and questionnaires evaluating pain and state anxiety. Results indicated significantly increased NFR thresholds and decreased pain ratings following CST for men and women. A significant time by sex interaction was observed for state anxiety, with women reporting greater decreases in anxiety following CST than men. This is the first study to demonstrate effects of a CST protocol on a measure of descending inhibition of nociception among patients with osteoarthritic knee pain.

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