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Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 Jul 2023 - 21 Jul 2023

Psychology, Review

Human Studies


2023 Jun 27

J Clin Med




Habituation to Pain in Patients with Chronic Pain: Clinical Implications and Future Directions.


van der Miesen MM, Vossen CJ, Joosten EA


In this review, the latest insights into habituation to pain in chronic pain are summarized. Using a systematic search, results of studies on the evidence of habituation to (experimental) pain in migraine, chronic low back pain, fibromyalgia, and a variety of chronic pain indications are presented. In migraine, reduced habituation based on self-report and the EEG-based N1 and N2-P2 amplitude is reported, but the presence of contradictory results demands further replication in larger, well-designed studies. Habituation to pain in chronic low back pain seems not to differ from controls, with the exception of EEG measures. In fibromyalgia patients, there is some evidence for reduced habituation of the N2-P2 amplitude. Our analysis shows that the variability between outcomes of studies on habituation to pain is high. As the mechanisms underlying habituation to pain are still not fully understood and likely involve several pathways, it is now too early to conclude that habituation to pain is related to clinical outcomes and can be used as a diagnostic marker. The review ends with a discussion on future directions for research including the use of standard outcome measures to improve comparisons of habituation to pain in patients and controls, as well as a focus on individual differences.