Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1989 Feb;68(1):6-11.

Normative model for cold pressor test.

Author information

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio 78284-7798.


The cold pressor test elicits an emotional/motivational pain experience from the immersion of a limb in cold water. It has been widely used to evaluate (experimental and chronic) pain. However, normative models for quantification and comparison for pain tolerance have not previously been established. This study developed a normative mathematical model for pain tolerance using the cold pressor test with over 600 subjects. Norms for age, sex, and ethnic group were calculated. In addition, chronic pain patients were compared with pain-free patients to determine normative differences in response. The results indicate that at any given age Anglo-Saxon males have the longest tolerance time followed by non-Anglo-Saxon males, Anglo-Saxon females, and finally non-Anglo-Saxon females. There is a consistent decrease in tolerance time as the male age increases and minimal change in tolerance time as the female age increases. Chronic pain patients exhibited the same type of pain response pattern as healthy volunteers when corrected for age, sex, and ethnocultural subgroup.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center