Quantitative sensory testing (QST) has been used to characterize pain sensitivity in individuals with and without pain conditions. Research remains limited in pediatric populations, hindering the ability to expand the utility of QST toward its potential application in clinical settings and clinical predictive value. The aims of this study were to examine pain sensitivity using QST in adolescents with chronic pain compared to adolescents without chronic pain and identify predictors of pain sensitivity. A population-based study conducted from 2010 to 2011 provided data on 941 adolescents, 197 were classified as having chronic pain and 744 were classified without chronic pain. Self-reported data on pain characteristics, psychological functioning, and QST responses were examined. The findings revealed lower pressure pain threshold and tolerance on the trapezius (P's 0.03) in adolescents with chronic pain compared to adolescents without chronic pain, but no differences on heat or cold-pressor pain tasks. Female sex (P's 0.02) and poorer psychological functioning (P's 0.02) emerged as significant predictors of greater pain sensitivity across all pain modalities. Exploratory analyses revealed several associations between clinical pain characteristics and QST responses within the chronic pain cohort. Findings from this large pediatric sample provide comprehensive data that could serve as normative data on QST responses in adolescents with and without chronic pain. These findings lay the groundwork toward developing future QST research and study protocols in pediatric populations, taking into consideration sex and psychological distress.
- Chronic pain
- Quantitative sensory testing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine