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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Feb 2019 - 1 Mar 2019


Human Studies

2019 Aug

J Pain



Sensory, Affective, and Catastrophizing Reactions to Multiple Stimulus Modalities: Results from the Oklahoma Study of Native American Pain Risk (OK-SNAP).


Rhudy JL, Lannon EW, Kuhn BL, Palit S, Payne MF, Sturycz CA, Hellman N, Güereca YM, Toledo TA, Coleman HB, Thompson KA, Fisher JM, Herbig SP, Barnoski K'LB, Chee L, Shadlow JO
J Pain. 2019 Aug; 20(8):965-979.
PMID: 30797963.


Native Americans (NAs) have a higher prevalence of chronic pain than any other U.S. racial/ethnic group; however, little is known about the mechanisms for this pain disparity. This study used quantitative sensory testing (QST) to assess pain experience in healthy, pain-free adults (N=137 NAs [87 female], N=145 non-Hispanic whites [NHW; 68 female]) following painful electric, heat, cold, ischemic, and pressure stimuli. Following each stimulus, ratings of pain intensity, sensory pain, affective pain, pain-related anxiety, and situation-specific pain catastrophizing were assessed. Results suggested that NAs reported greater sensory pain in response to suprathreshold electric and heat stimuli, greater pain-related anxiety to heat and ischemic stimuli, and more catastrophic thoughts in response to electric and heat stimuli. Sex differences were also noted; however, with the exception of catastrophic thoughts to cold, these were not moderated by race/ethnicity. Together, findings suggest NAs experience heightened sensory, anxiety, and catastrophizing reactions to painful stimuli. This could place NAs at risk for future chronic pain and could ultimately lead to a vicious cycle that maintains pain (e.g., pain→anxiety/catastrophizing→pain). PERSPECTIVE: Native Americans experienced heightened sensory, anxiety, and catastrophizing reactions in response to multiple pain stimuli. Given the potential for anxiety and catastrophic thoughts to amplify pain, this may place them at risk for pain disorders and could lead to a vicious cycle that maintains pain.