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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Jan 2020 - 31 Jan 2020


Human Studies

2020 06




Does experimentally induced pain-related fear influence central and peripheral movement preparation in healthy people and low back pain patients?


Schouppe S, Clauwaert A, Oosterwijck J V, Van Damme S, Palmans T, Wiersema JR, Sanchis-Sanchéz E, Danneels L
Pain. 2020 06; 161(6):1212-1226.
PMID: 31977933.


Non-specific chronic low back pain (CLBP) is a multifactorial disorder. Pain-related fear and altered movement preparation are considered to be key factors in the chronification process. Interactions between both have been hypothesized, but studies examining the influence of situational fear on movement preparation in low back pain (LBP) are wanting, as well as studies differentiating between recurrent LBP (RLBP) and CLBP. Therefore, this study examined whether experimentally induced pain-related fear influences movement preparation. In healthy controls (n=32), RLBP (n=31) and CLBP (n=30) patients central and peripheral measures of movement preparation were assessed by concurrently measuring trunk muscle anticipatory postural adjustments (APA) with EMG and Contingent Negative Variation (CNV) with EEG during performance of rapid arm movements (RAM). Two conditions were compared, one without (no fear) and one with (fear) possibility of painful stimulation to the back during RAM. Visual analogue scales were used to assess pain-related expectations/fear in both conditions. The experimentally induced fear of pain during movement performance led to an increase in CNV-amplitude, which was similar in all three groups. Concerning APAs no effects of fear were found, but group differences with generally delayed APAs in CLBP compared to controls and RLBP patients were evident. These results suggest that with fear an attentional redirection towards more conscious central movement preparation strategies occurs. Furthermore, differences in movement preparation in RLBP and CLBP patients exist, which could explain why RLBP patients have more recovery capabilities than CLBP.