Despite its impact, individual factors associated with persistent low back pain (LBP) remain poorly understood. This study investigated static and dynamic pain sensitivity in adults with persistent LBP versus pain-free controls; and investigated associations between pain sensitivity and 3 clinical pain measures: recalled, resting, and movement-evoked pain (MEP).
Materials and Methods:
A lifespan sample of 60 adults with persistent LBP and 30 age-matched/sex-matched controls completed 4 laboratory sessions. Static pain sensitivity (pressure pain threshold [PPT], heat pain threshold) and dynamic pain sensitivity (heat pain aftersensations [AS], temporal summation [TS] of second heat pain) were measured. Demographic and clinical factors collected were education, global cognition, and perceived health. Resting and recalled pain were measured via questionnaire, and MEP via the Back Performance Scale.
LBP participants demonstrated lower PPT remotely (hand; F1,84=5.34, P=0.024) and locally (low back; F1,84=9.55, P=0.003) and also had higher AS (F1,84=6.01, P=0.016). Neither static nor dynamic pain sensitivity were associated with recalled pain (P>0.05). However, static pain sensitivity (local PPT) explained an additional 9% variance in resting pain, while dynamic pain sensitivity (AS, TS) explained an additional 10% to 12% variance in MEP.
This study characterized pain sensitivity measures among individuals with persistent LBP and suggests static pain sensitivity plays a larger role in resting pain while dynamic pain sensitivity plays a larger role in MEP. Future studies will confirm these relationships and elucidate the extent to which changes in static or dynamic pain sensitivity predict or mediate clinical pain among adults with persistent LBP.