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Papers of the Week

Papers: 21 Jan 2023 - 3 Feb 2023

2023 Jan 13

J Clin Med



Association between Experimental Pain Measurements and the Central Sensitization Inventory in Patients at Least 3 Months after COVID-19 Infection: A Cross-Sectional Pilot Study.


Goudman L, De Smedt A, Roggeman S, Fernández-de-Las-Peñas C, Hatem SM, Schiltz M, Billot M, Roulaud M, Rigoard P, Moens M
J Clin Med. 2023 Jan 13; 12(2).
PMID: 36675590.


Fatigue, pain, headache, brain fog, anosmia, ageusia, mood symptoms, and sleep disorders are symptoms commonly experienced by people with post-COVID-19 condition. These symptoms could be considered as manifestations of central sensitization. The aim of this study is to evaluate whether there are indicators of central sensitization by using experimental pain measurements and to determine their association with patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). A cross-sectional study including 42 patients after COVID-19 infection was conducted. The central sensitization inventory (CSI) was administered as a PROM to evaluate central-sensitization-associated symptoms. Pressure pain thresholds (PPT), temporal summation, and descending nociceptive pain inhibition (CPM) were assessed as experimental pain measurements. The median score on the CSI was 46.5 (Q1-Q3: 33-54). The presence of central-sensitization-associated symptoms was seen in 64.3% of patients based on the CSI (≥40/100 points). A deficient CPM was seen in 12% and 14% of patients when measured at the trapezius and rectus femoris, respectively. A negative correlation between pressure sensitivity on the rectus femoris and the CSI score (r = -0.36, 95%CI -0.13 to -0.65, = 0.007) was observed. Central-sensitization-associated symptoms were present in up to 64.3% of patients post-COVID-19 infection, based on a PROM, i.e., the CSI. A more objective evaluation of nociceptive processing through experimental pain measurements was less suggestive of indicators of central sensitization. Only a small negative correlation between pressure sensitivity and the CSI was observed, thereby pointing towards the discrepancy between the CSI and experimental pain measurements and presumably the complementary need for both to evaluate potential indicators of central sensitization in this population.