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Cutaneous limb inflammation produces analgesia to pressure pain in the ipsilateral forehead of healthy volunteers

Knudsen, L. and Drummond, P.D. (2011) Cutaneous limb inflammation produces analgesia to pressure pain in the ipsilateral forehead of healthy volunteers. The Journal of Pain, 12 (4). pp. 451-459.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2010.10.008
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Abstract

To investigate the pain-modulatory effects of a local inflammatory stimulus on pain elsewhere in the body, capsaicin was applied topically to the forearm of 14 healthy female volunteers. Pressure-pain thresholds and sensitivity to sharpness were assessed on each side of the forehead twice per day during 48 hours of capsaicin treatment, and in the treated and contralateral forearm before and at the end of treatment. Heat was applied to the treated area to rekindle pain at times of forehead assessment. Hyperalgesia to sharpness, but not pressure pain, developed in the treated area whereas sensations remained stable in the contralateral forearm. Sharpness ratings decreased bilaterally in the forehead after 6 hours of treatment, and ipsilateral analgesia to pressure pain developed in the forehead when the capsaicin site was heated after 48 hours of treatment. These findings suggest that pain modulation involves unilateral regulatory mechanisms in addition to local and generalized pain control. The dissociated changes to sharpness and pressure pain indicate distinct cutaneous and deep central pain pathways. Perspective: The findings lend support to an increasing body of research which demonstrates that pain modulation involves hemilateral mechanisms in addition to local and generalized controls. Elucidation a mechanisms that modulate ipsilateral pain processing may help to clarify the pathophysiology of complex regional pain syndrome, which is characterized by hemilateral hyperalgesia.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: 2011 American Pain Society
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/4298
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