BACKGROUND: Abnormal endogenous pain modulation (EPM) was suggested as a pathophysiological characteristic of chronic pain. EPM has been investigated using psychophysical tests for pain facilitation and inhibition such as temporal summation of pain and conditioned pain modulation, respectively. Another psychophysical test for pain inhibition is offset analgesia (OA), where small variations in noxious stimulus intensity over time elicit a disproportionately large analgesic response. OA has been investigated in patients with mixed pain conditions, but not in chronic temporomandibular disorders (TMD) patients.
OBJECTIVE: To compare OA responses in chronic TMD female cases to age-matched, pain-free female controls.
METHODS: OA was assessed by applying noxious heat over the non-dominant forearm of chronic TMD cases (n=22) and controls (n=17), using a previously reported paradigm with individualized test temperatures (TT): T1(5s)=TT, T2(5s)=TT+1°C, T3(20s)=TT. Clinical and psychosocial characteristics were measured. Main outcomes for OA were delta computerized visual analogue scale (COVAS), percent change (T2-T3/T2-T1) and area under the curve (AUC) ratio of pain ratings controlling for TT.
RESULTS: No statistically significant between-group differences were found for delta COVAS (TMD cases mean±SD=53.5±22.0; Controls=51.6±22.9, p=0.876) and percent change (T2-T3/T2-T1) (cases mean=327.2±375.1; Controls=226.9±553.4, p=0.515), with both groups presenting a robust OA response. TMD cases perceived more pain during OA trials than controls, as measured by AUC ratio (mean difference[95%CI]=-15.6[-26.9, -3.5], p=0.017).
CONCLUSION: Chronic TMD cases presented with similar OA response over the forearm as controls; however they experienced greater pain during testing. Future studies including this patient population should investigate OA responses over painful body sites, e.g., jaw/face. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Bibliographical noteThis article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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