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Sex differences in experimental measures of pain sensitivity and endogenous pain inhibition.

Bulls HW, Freeman EL, Anderson AJ, Robbins MT, Ness TJ, Goodin BR - J Pain Res (2015)

Bottom Line: Analyses revealed significant sex differences for the ischemic pain task and the conditioned pain modulation procedure, such that women tolerated the ischemic pain for a shorter amount of time and demonstrated less pain inhibition compared with men.The results of this study suggest that women may be more pain sensitive and possess less-efficient endogenous pain inhibitory capacity compared with men.Whether interventions that decrease pain sensitivity and enhance pain inhibition in women ultimately improve their clinical pain outcomes is an area of research that deserves additional attention in the future.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.

ABSTRACT
It has been suggested that increased pain sensitivity and disruption of endogenous pain inhibitory processes may account, at least in part, for the greater prevalence and severity of chronic pain in women compared to men. However, previous studies addressing this topic have produced mixed findings. This study examined sex differences in pain sensitivity and inhibition using quantitative sensory testing (QST), while also considering the influence of other important factors such as depressive symptoms and sleep quality. Healthy men (n=24) and women (n=24) each completed a QST battery. This battery included an ischemic pain task (IPT) that used a submaximal effort tourniquet procedure as well as a conditioned pain modulation (CPM) procedure for the assessment of endogenous pain inhibition. Prior to QST, participants completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Analyses revealed significant sex differences for the ischemic pain task and the conditioned pain modulation procedure, such that women tolerated the ischemic pain for a shorter amount of time and demonstrated less pain inhibition compared with men. This remained true even when accounting for sex differences in depressive symptoms and sleep quality. The results of this study suggest that women may be more pain sensitive and possess less-efficient endogenous pain inhibitory capacity compared with men. Whether interventions that decrease pain sensitivity and enhance pain inhibition in women ultimately improve their clinical pain outcomes is an area of research that deserves additional attention in the future.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Differences in pain sensitivity between men and women in response to the IPT.Notes: (A) IPT tolerance time; (B) ratings of pain intensity and pain unpleasantness.Abbreviation: IPT, ischemic pain task.
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f1-jpr-8-311: Differences in pain sensitivity between men and women in response to the IPT.Notes: (A) IPT tolerance time; (B) ratings of pain intensity and pain unpleasantness.Abbreviation: IPT, ischemic pain task.

Mentions: Mean values for the IPT pain sensitivity variables are displayed in Table 4 for the overall study sample as well as separately for men and women. The first MANCOVA revealed significant sex differences for IPT pain sensitivity while controlling for depressive symptoms and sleep quality (λ=0.793, F=3.67, P=0.020). The follow up univariate F statistics showed there was a significant sex difference for IPT tolerance time (F=10.48, P<0.01) but not for ratings of pain intensity or pain unpleasantness. Although women tended to discontinue the IPT after a significantly shorter amount of time than did men, their ratings of pain intensity and pain unpleasantness were comparable (Figure 1A and B).


Sex differences in experimental measures of pain sensitivity and endogenous pain inhibition.

Bulls HW, Freeman EL, Anderson AJ, Robbins MT, Ness TJ, Goodin BR - J Pain Res (2015)

Differences in pain sensitivity between men and women in response to the IPT.Notes: (A) IPT tolerance time; (B) ratings of pain intensity and pain unpleasantness.Abbreviation: IPT, ischemic pain task.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4494610&req=5

f1-jpr-8-311: Differences in pain sensitivity between men and women in response to the IPT.Notes: (A) IPT tolerance time; (B) ratings of pain intensity and pain unpleasantness.Abbreviation: IPT, ischemic pain task.
Mentions: Mean values for the IPT pain sensitivity variables are displayed in Table 4 for the overall study sample as well as separately for men and women. The first MANCOVA revealed significant sex differences for IPT pain sensitivity while controlling for depressive symptoms and sleep quality (λ=0.793, F=3.67, P=0.020). The follow up univariate F statistics showed there was a significant sex difference for IPT tolerance time (F=10.48, P<0.01) but not for ratings of pain intensity or pain unpleasantness. Although women tended to discontinue the IPT after a significantly shorter amount of time than did men, their ratings of pain intensity and pain unpleasantness were comparable (Figure 1A and B).

Bottom Line: Analyses revealed significant sex differences for the ischemic pain task and the conditioned pain modulation procedure, such that women tolerated the ischemic pain for a shorter amount of time and demonstrated less pain inhibition compared with men.The results of this study suggest that women may be more pain sensitive and possess less-efficient endogenous pain inhibitory capacity compared with men.Whether interventions that decrease pain sensitivity and enhance pain inhibition in women ultimately improve their clinical pain outcomes is an area of research that deserves additional attention in the future.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA.

ABSTRACT
It has been suggested that increased pain sensitivity and disruption of endogenous pain inhibitory processes may account, at least in part, for the greater prevalence and severity of chronic pain in women compared to men. However, previous studies addressing this topic have produced mixed findings. This study examined sex differences in pain sensitivity and inhibition using quantitative sensory testing (QST), while also considering the influence of other important factors such as depressive symptoms and sleep quality. Healthy men (n=24) and women (n=24) each completed a QST battery. This battery included an ischemic pain task (IPT) that used a submaximal effort tourniquet procedure as well as a conditioned pain modulation (CPM) procedure for the assessment of endogenous pain inhibition. Prior to QST, participants completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Analyses revealed significant sex differences for the ischemic pain task and the conditioned pain modulation procedure, such that women tolerated the ischemic pain for a shorter amount of time and demonstrated less pain inhibition compared with men. This remained true even when accounting for sex differences in depressive symptoms and sleep quality. The results of this study suggest that women may be more pain sensitive and possess less-efficient endogenous pain inhibitory capacity compared with men. Whether interventions that decrease pain sensitivity and enhance pain inhibition in women ultimately improve their clinical pain outcomes is an area of research that deserves additional attention in the future.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus