Disordered conditioned pain modulation system in patients with posttraumatic cold intolerance

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Background: Conditioned pain modulation (CPM) is a phenomenon of 'pain inhibiting pain' that is important for understanding idiopathic pain syndromes. Because the pathophysiology of posttraumatic cold intolerance is still unknown but it could involve similar mechanisms as idiopathic pain syndromes, we evaluated the functioning of the CPM system in patients with posttraumatic cold intolerance compared to healthy controls. Methods: Fourteen healthy controls and 24 patients diagnosed with cold intolerance using the Cold Intolerance Symptom Severity questionnaire were included in the study. Of the 24 patients with cold intolerance, 11 had a nerve lesion and 13 an amputation of one or more digits. To quantify the CPM, pain threshold for mechanical pressure was measured at the affected region as a baseline measure. Then, the contralateral hand received a cold stimulus of ice water to evoke the noxious conditioning. Af Results: The absolute and relative changes in algometer pressure (CPM effect) between pre- and post-conditioning were significantly smaller in the cold intolerance group compared to the control group (absolute p = 0.019, relative p = 0.004). The CPM effect was significantly different between the control group and the subgroups of nerve lesion (p = 0.003) and amputation patients (p = 0.011). Conclusions: In this study, we found a CPM effect after a cold stimulus in both controls and patients. A significant weaker CPM effect compared to the controls was found, as in other chronic pain conditions. The CPM system within patients with cold intolerance is altered. Crown Copyright (C) 2013 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. All rights reserved.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)68-73
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Research programs

  • EMC COEUR-09
  • EMC MUSC-01-46-01
  • EMC NIHES-01-50-01-A

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