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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Jun 2022 - 1 Jul 2022


2022 Jun 23

J Pain

Sociocultural context and pre-clinical pain facilitation: Multiple dimensions of racialized discrimination experienced by Latinx Americans are associated with enhanced temporal summation of pain.


The experiences of injustice and their impacts on pain among Latinx Americans are overlooked and understudied. Multidimensional and consequential experiences of racialized discrimination are common for Latinx Americans but have not been considered as factors relevant for enhanced pain experience or risk. In this study, we focused on the experiences of Latinx Americans living in Texas by assessing multiple dimensions of racialized discrimination (total lifetime discrimination, racialized exclusion, stigmatization, discrimination in the workplace or school, and racism-related threat and aggression) and a laboratory marker of central sensitization of pain (temporal summation of mechanical pain, MTS). Among 120 adults who did not have chronic pain, nearly all (94.2%) experienced racialized discrimination. Accumulated lifetime experience of racialized discrimination, as well as the frequency of each dimension of discrimination assessed, was associated with greater MTS. Results suggest that a process of discrimination-related central sensitization may start early, and may reflect enhanced pain experiences and pre-clinical chronic pain risk. Though replication is needed, results also indicate the discrimination and pain burden among Latinx Texans, and Latinx Americans broadly, are likely under-represented in the scientific literature. PERSPECTIVE: : Racialized discrimination is multidimensional. Latinx Texans experience frequent discrimination that is associated with enhanced temporal summation of pain in the laboratory. Results indicate the importance of societal factors in pain processing and may reflect a mechanism of racism-related pre-clinical central sensitization observable before chronic pain onset.