Alterations in Temporal Summation of Pain and Conditioned Pain Modulation Across an Episode of Experimental Exercise-Induced Low Back Pain.


Center for Neuroplasticity and Pain (CNAP), SMI, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark. Electronic address: [Email]


Persistent pain conditions, including low back pain (LBP), are often accompanied by alterations in pronociceptive and antinociceptive mechanisms, as quantified by temporal summation of pain (TSP) and conditioned pain modulation (CPM). It remains unclear whether altered pain sensitivity, CPM, and/or TSP are a consequence of pain presence or determine the degree of pain development. Pressure pain sensitivity, TSP, and CPM were assessed across an episode of exercise-induced LBP maintained for several days. Thirty healthy individuals participated in 3 experimental sessions: before (day 0), 2 days after fatiguing back muscle exercise with exercise-induced LBP present (day 2), and after pain resolution (day 7). Both handheld and cuff pressure-pain thresholds, along with TSP (10-cuff pain stimuli at .5 Hz) and CPM (cuff pain detection threshold prior versus during painful pressure conditioning) were assessed, alongside questionnaires pertaining to pain, disability, mood, sleep, menstruation, physical activity, and catastrophizing. The exercise-induced LBP model produced mild pain and disability, and reductions in pressure pain thresholds over both the lumbar and distant testing sites (p < .007). No pain-related changes were observed for TSP (p > .44) or CPM (p > .17). The baseline TSP was associated with the peak pain intensity of the exercise-induced LBP (p < .003). Perspective: Pressure-pain sensitivity was impacted by the presence of exercise-induced LBP, whereas TSP seemed to be more stable and was instead associated with the intensity of pain developed. No significant pain-related changes or associations were observed for CPM, suggesting this measure may have less usefulness in mild musculoskeletal pain conditions.


Conditioned pain modulation,cuff algometry,low back pain model,temporal pain summation,translational,