OBJECTIVE: The present cross-sectional study aims to unravel associations between pain intensity and cognitions versus quantitative sensory testing in people scheduled for surgery for lumbar radiculopathy. Additionally, insight will be provided in the presence of dysfunctional nociceptive processing and maladaptive pain cognitions in this population.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.
SETTING: Data from three hospitals in Belgium.
SUBJECTS: The final sample comprised 120 participants with lumbar radiculopathy scheduled for surgery, included between March 2016 and April 2019.
METHODS: Self-reported pain intensity was assessed using a visual analogue scale and pain cognitions were assessed using self-reported questionnaires (Pain Catastrophizing Scale, Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia and Pain Vigilance and Awareness Questionnaire). Quantitative sensory testing (detection thresholds, pain thresholds, temporal summation and conditioned pain modulation) was evaluated as well.
RESULTS: Evidence was found for the presence of an impaired inhibitory response to nociceptive stimuli and maladaptive pain cognitions in this population. Kinesiophobia was found to be present to a maladaptive degree in the majority of the patients (n = 106 (88%)). Significant, but weak, associations between electrical pain thresholds at the Sural nerves and leg pain intensity (Sural nerve symptomatic side: r=-0.23; p = 0.01; non-symptomatic side: r=-0.22; p = 0.02) and kinesiophobia levels (Sural nerve non-symptomatic side: r=-0.26; p = 0.006) were identified.
CONCLUSIONS: Electrical detection thresholds and correlates for endogenous nociceptive facilitation and inhibition were not found to be related with any of the pain cognitions, nor with pain intensity in people scheduled to undergo surgery for lumbar radiculopathy.
Bibliographical note© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.
- Quantitative sensory testing
- pain cognitions