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Pain Pract. 2014 Mar;14(3):E126-35. doi: 10.1111/papr.12142. Epub 2013 Nov 20.

Two-week test-retest stability of the cold pressor task procedure at two different temperatures as a measure of pain threshold and tolerance.

Author information

1
School of Therapeutic Sciences, SRH University, Heidelberg, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The cold pressor task (CPT) was originally developed as a clinically indicative cardiovascular test, and quantifies vascular response and pulse excitability when a subject's hand is immersed into ice water. Since the test procedure results in a gradually increasing cold pain, the CPT has been widely used as a nociceptive stimulus in experimental studies on adults and children.

AIM:

To evaluate the test-retest stability of response patterns using the CPT as a measure of pain threshold and pain tolerance.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

In the present study, sixty-one undergraduate students received painful stimulation using the CPT either at 4°C or 6°C. Measurements of pain threshold, pain tolerance and pain intensity ratings using the short form of the McGill pain questionnaire (SF-MPQ), were derived. The assessment was repeated twice over an interval of 2 weeks. Test-Retest stability was assessed within a three-layered approach, using ANOVAs, interclass correlation coefficients and standard error of the mean. A Bland-Altman analysis was also performed. Possible predictors of pain threshold and pain tolerance were assessed using random effect panel regression models.

RESULTS:

No significant differences emerged as a function of temperature (4°C or 6°C) on pain threshold, pain tolerance, and pain ratings. Environmental variables (room temperature and humidity) show no impact on measures of pain threshold and pain tolerance.

CONCLUSION:

Consistent with previous findings, regression analysis reveals that age is significantly associated with pain tolerance. The CPT procedure shows excellent 2 week test-retest stability to assess pain threshold and pain tolerance within a student population.

KEYWORDS:

cold pressor task; pain threshold; pain tolerance; test-retest

PMID:
24256148
DOI:
10.1111/papr.12142
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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