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Papers of the Week

Papers: 18 Mar 2023 - 24 Mar 2023


Human Studies, Neurobiology

Abdominal/Pelvic Pain, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Mar 21

J Pain


Association between nociplastic pain and pain severity and impact in women with chronic pelvic pain.


Till SR, Schrepf A, Clauw DJ, Harte SE, Williams DA, As-Sanie S


Exploring the relationship between nociplastic pain and the severity and impact of pelvic pain symptoms could lend insight into the heterogeneous symptom presentation and treatment response that complicates management of chronic pelvic pain. In this prospective cross-sectional study, we sought to evaluate relationships between degree of nociplastic pain, measured by the Fibromyalgia (FM) Survey Score, and multiple aspects of the chronic pelvic pain (CPP) experience, including severity, frequency, tenderness during pelvic myofascial exam, interference with daily life, and high-impact pain. The study included 303 women who presented to a tertiary referral clinic for chronic pelvic pain and endometriosis. Multiple measures of pelvic pain, including pain severity, frequency, interference, pelvic myofascial pain, and high-impact pain were examined in General Linear Models with FM Survey Score as the primary predictor of interest in models controlling for endometriosis, surgical history, use of opioids, body mass index, and patient age. Higher level of nociplastic pain was associated with greater pelvic pain severity, frequency, interference, and pelvic myofascial pain (all p < .05). For all models, degree of nociplastic pain was more strongly associated with pain outcomes than the presence of endometriosis, and use of opioids was the only stronger predictor of worse pain outcomes. The likelihood of high impact pain increased 7% for each additional point on the FM Survey Score. Degree of nociplastic pain was robustly associated with severity, frequency, and impact of pelvic pain, and was independent of the presence of endometriosis, history of surgical procedures for pelvic pain, age, and BMI. Trial registration: not applicable Perspective: This article evaluates the impact of nociplastic pain on symptoms and functional status in chronic pelvic pain. These findings raise the possibility that a simple screening tool for nociplastic pain might provide clinically actionable information without the need for deep neurobiological phenotyping and may inform development of personalized management strategies.