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Eur J Pain. 2007 Jul;11(5):594-8. Epub 2006 Nov 22.

Self-reported pain sensitivity: lack of correlation with pain threshold and tolerance.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA. redwar10@jhmi.edu

Abstract

Many recent studies and several reviews have highlighted the potential clinical applications of experimental pain testing (e.g., for predicting post-surgical pain, treatment responsiveness, etc.). However, the implementation of quantitative sensory testing of pain sensitivity on a broad scale is limited by requirements of time, equipment, and expertise, and their associated costs. One reasonable question is whether one can obtain, via self-report, a valid index of an individual's pain sensitivity and pain tolerance. We analyzed data from a large number of subjects (n=505) who had undergone standardized thermal pain testing, and found that while higher self-reported pain sensitivity was associated with higher scores on a measure of anxiety, no relationship was observed between subjects' self-report of pain sensitivity and subjects' actual pain threshold or tolerance. These findings suggest that circumventing psychophysical pain testing by assessing individuals' self-reported pain sensitivity is unlikely to be a useful strategy.

PMID:
17118681
PMCID:
PMC1974872
DOI:
10.1016/j.ejpain.2006.09.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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