I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Aug 2019 - 9 Aug 2019

Human Studies

2019 Oct 01

J Neurophysiol



Cerebral peak alpha frequency reflects average pain severity in a human model of sustained, musculoskeletal pain.


Furman AJ, Thapa T, Summers SJ, Cavaleri R, Fogarty JS, Steiner GZ, Schabrun SM, Seminowicz DA
J Neurophysiol. 2019 Oct 01; 122(4):1784-1793.
PMID: 31389754.


Heightened pain sensitivity, the amount of pain experienced in response to a noxious event, is a known risk factor for development of chronic pain. We have previously reported that pain-free, sensorimotor Peak Alpha Frequency (PAF) is a reliable biomarker of pain sensitivity for thermal, prolonged pains lasting tens of minutes. To test whether PAF can provide information about pain sensitivity occurring over clinically relevant timescales (i.e., weeks), EEG was recorded before and while participants experienced a long-lasting pain model, repeated intramuscular injection of nerve growth factor (NGF), that produces progressively developing muscle pain for up to 21 days. We demonstrate that pain-free, sensorimotor PAF is negatively correlated with NGF pain sensitivity; increasingly slower PAF is associated with increasingly greater pain sensitivity. Furthermore, PAF remained stable following NGF injection indicating that the presence of NGF pain for multiple weeks is not sufficient to induce the PAF slowing reported in chronic pain. In total, our results demonstrate that slower pain-free, sensorimotor PAF is associated with heightened sensitivity to a long-lasting musculoskeletal pain and also suggest that the apparent slowing of PAF in chronic pain may reflect pre-disease pain sensitivity.