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Pain intensity and pressure pain thresholds after a light dynamic physical load in patients with chronic neck-shoulder pain

Journal article
Authors Anna Grimby-Ekman
Christina Ahlstrand
B. Gerdle
B. Larsson
Helena Sandén
Published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Volume 21
Issue 1
Pages 10
ISSN 1471-2474
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Pages 10
Language en
Keywords Chronic pain, Neck, Shoulder, Pressure pain threshold, Exercise induced, hypoalgesia, Work ability, exercise-induced hypoalgesia, activity-related summation, individual-differences, fibromyalgia, burnout, risk, Orthopedics, Rheumatology
Subject categories Orthopedics, Rheumatology and Autoimmunity


Background To investigate the development of pain intensity and pressure pain thresholds during and 24 h after a light dynamic physical load among patients with chronic neck-shoulder pain. Methods Twenty-six patients with chronic neck-shoulder pain and 12 healthy controls were included. The participants arm-cycled on an ergometer. Effort was rated with the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion scale (RPE), and pain intensity with an numeric rating scale (NRS). Pressure pain thresholds were measured by an algometer. Participants started a pain diary 1 week before the physical exercise and continued until 1 week after. Pain intensity was assessed before, during and the following two evenings after arm-cycling. Pressure pain thresholds were assessed before, 15 min after, 105 min after and 24 h after. Results The chronic pain group showed increased pain intensity during, and the following two evenings after the arm cycling, and decreased pain thresholds immediately after the arm cycling involving painful regions. In the patient group there were no impact on pain thresholds in the neck the following day. Conclusions Patients with chronic neck-shoulder pain reported increased pain intensity during and in the evenings after a light dynamic load involving painful regions. In addition, they showed decreased pain thresholds close to the exercise, indicating mechanical hyperalgesia.

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