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Cardiovascular responses to and modulation of pressure pain sensitivity in normotensive, pain-free women

Background and purpose: The psychophysiological responses to and modulation of pressure pain stimulation are relatively new areas of investigation. The aims of the present study were to characterize subjective and cardiovascular (CV) responses to pressure pain stimulation, and to examine the relationship between CV responding and pain pressure pain sensitivity. Methods: Thirty-nine pain-free, normotensive women were included in the study and tested during the follicular phase of their menstrual cycles. Pain threshold and tolerance were recorded at the right masseter muscle and the sternum, and visual analogue scales (VAS) were used to rate both pain intensity (the sensory dimension) and discomfort (the affective dimension). Mean arterial pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR), and facial and digital skin blood flux (SBF) were registered continuously. Results: The pain threshold and tolerance were significantly higher at the sternum compared with the masseter, but the level of affective distress was higher at the masseter tolerance point. No associations emerged between pressure pain threshold and tolerance stimulation levels, and the corresponding VAS ratings. Pressure pain stimulation of the masseter induced significant increases in MAP, HR, and a decrease in digital SBF. During sternum pressure stimulation a significant change in HR and digital SBF was observed. There...

Mohn, Christine; Vassend, Olav; Knardahl, Stein
Scandinavian Journal of Pain 3(3): 165–169
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