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Papers of the Week

2022 Apr 04

J Neurotrauma

Photosensitivity is Associated with Chronic Pain following Traumatic Brain Injury.


Balba NM, McBride AA, Callahan ML, Mist SD, Jones KD, Butler MP, Lim MM, Heinricher MM
J Neurotrauma. 2022 Apr 04.
PMID: 35373595.


Individuals with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) report increased rates of chronic pain. Photosensitivity is also a common chronic symptom following TBI and is prevalent among other types of chronic pain. The aim of this study was to better understand the relationship between chronic pain, pain-related disability, and photosensitivity in a TBI population. We quantified participants' visual photosensitivity thresholds (VPT) using an Ocular Photosensitivity Analyzer and measured pressure-pain sensitivity using pressure algometry. Participants also completed a battery of self-report measures related to chronic pain, TBI history, and mental health. A total of 395 participants completed testing, with 233 reporting a history of TBI. The TBI group was divided into 120 Symptomatic TBI participants (s-TBI), and 113 Asymptomatic TBI participants (a-TBI) based on their Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory (NSI) scores. Participants in the s-TBI group scored significantly higher on self-reported chronic pain measures compared to a-TBI and no-TBI participants, including the Symptom Impact Questionnaire Revised (p < 0.001) and the Michigan Body Map (p < 0.001). Despite differences in chronic pain complaints, groups displayed similar pressure-pain thresholds (p = 0.270). Additionally, s-TBI participants were more sensitive to light (lower VPT, p < 0.001), and VPT was correlated with SIQR scores across all participants (R = -0.452, p < 0.001). These data demonstrate that photosensitivity is associated with self-reported chronic pain and disability in individuals with chronic TBI symptomatology. Photosensitivity could therefore serve as a simple, more highly quantitative marker of high-impact chronic pain after TBI.