Pain Sensitivity Questionnaire scores correlate with results of experimental pain testing and reflect generalized enhancement of pain perception in chronic pain patients.
Recently, a self-rating measure for pain perception based on imagined painful daily life situations, the Pain Sensitivity Questionnaire (PSQ), has been developed and shown to correlate with experimentally obtained pain intensity ratings in healthy subjects. Here, we assessed the validity of the PSQ for investigation of general pain perception (ie, pain perception outside the site of clinical pain) in chronic pain patients. PSQ scores were obtained in 134 chronic pain patients and compared to those of 185 healthy control subjects. In a subgroup of 46 chronic pain patients, we performed experimental pain testing outside the clinical pain site, including different modalities (heat, cold, pressure, and pinprick) and different measures (pain thresholds, pain intensity ratings). Results show that PSQ scores were significantly correlated with both experimental pain intensity ratings (Pearson’s r = 0.71, P < .001) and experimental pain thresholds (r = −0.52, P < .001). In addition, chronic pain patients exhibited significantly elevated PSQ scores as compared to healthy controls, consistent with the generalized increase of experimentally determined pain perception that has repeatedly been reported in chronic pain patients. These results demonstrate that the PSQ constitutes a valid self-rating measure of pain perception outside the clinical pain site in chronic pain patients and might serve as an alternative to experimental assessment of pain perception outside the clinical pain site in situations where experimental pain testing is not feasible.
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aDepartment of Neurology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
bDepartment of Neurology, University of Munich, München, Germany
cDepartment of Prosthodontics, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
dDepartment of Anaesthesiology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
eDepartment of Orthopaedics and Tumororthopaedics, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
fEye Hospital, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
*Corresponding author. Address: Department of Neurology, University of Munich, Marchioninistr. 15, 81377 München, Germany. Tel.: +49 89 7095 4826.
Article history: Received 9 September 2011; Received in revised form 10 February 2012; Accepted 23 February 2012.