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Musculoskelet Sci Pract. 2017 Feb;27:40-48. doi: 10.1016/j.msksp.2016.12.006. Epub 2016 Dec 12.

Distinguishing between nociceptive and neuropathic components in chronic low back pain using behavioural evaluation and sensory examination.

Author information

1
Dept. of Neuroimaging, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, UK; Dept. of Physiotherapy, Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK. Electronic address: nicolas.1.spahr@kcl.ac.uk.
2
Dept. of Neuroimaging, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, UK.
3
Dept. of Neuroimaging, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, UK; Dept. of Physiotherapy, Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK; Centre of Human & Aerospace Physiological Sciences, King's College London, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Diagnosis of chronic low back pain (CLBP) is traditionally predicated on identifying underlying pathological or anatomical causes, with treatment outcomes modest at best. Alternately, it is suggested that identification of underlying pain mechanisms with treatments targeted towards specific pain phenotypes may yield more success. Differentiation between nociceptive and neuropathic components of CLBP is problematic; evidence suggests that clinicians fail to identify a significant neuropathic component in many CLBP patients. The painDETECT questionnaire (PDQ) was specifically developed to identify occult but significant neuropathic components in individuals thought to have predominantly nociceptive pain.

METHODS:

Using the PDQ, we classified 50 CLBP patients into two distinct groups; those with predominantly nociceptive pain (Group 1) and those with a significant neuropathic component (Group 2). We characterised these two distinct CLBP sub-groups using a) questionnaire-based behavioural evaluation measuring pain-related function and quality of life, pain intensity and psychological well-being and b) sensory examination, using two-point and tactile threshold discrimination.

OBJECTIVE:

We sought to determine if differences in the pain phenotype of each CLBP sub-group would be reflected in sensory and behavioural group profiles.

RESULTS:

We report that Group 1 and Group 2 sub-groups demonstrate unique clinical profiles with significant differences in sensory tactile discrimination thresholds and in a wide range of behavioural domains measuring pain intensity, disability and psychological well-being.

CONCLUSION:

We have demonstrated distinct clinical profiles for CLBP patient sub-groups classified by PDQ. Our results give diagnostic confidence in using the PDQ to characterise two distinct pain phenotypes in a heterogeneous CLBP population.

KEYWORDS:

Chronic pain; Low back pain; Neuropathic pain; Nociceptive pain

PMID:
28637600
PMCID:
PMC5329124
DOI:
10.1016/j.msksp.2016.12.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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