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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Feb 2023 - 3 Mar 2023

Clinical, Psychology

Human Studies

Musculoskeletal Pain, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Feb 19

Diagnostics (Basel)




Pressure Pain Thresholds and Central Sensitization in Relation to Psychosocial Predictors of Chronicity in Low Back Pain.


Steinmetz A, Hacke F, Delank KS


(1) Background: Peripheral, as well as central, sensitization have been described in chronic low back pain (cLBP). The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of psychosocial factors on the development of central sensitization. (2) Methods: This prospective study investigated local and peripheral pressure pain thresholds and their dependence on psychosocial risk factors in patients with cLBP receiving inpatient multimodal pain therapy. Psychosocial factors were assessed using the Örebro Musculoskeletal Pain Screening Questionnaire (ÖMPSQ). (3) Results: A total of 90 patients were included in the study, 61 (75.4% women, 24.6% men) of whom had significant psychosocial risk factors. The control group consisted of 29 patients (62.1% women, 37.9% men). At baseline, patients with psychosocial risk factors showed significantly lower local and peripheral pressure pain thresholds, suggesting central sensitization, compared to the control group. Sleep quality, measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), was also correlated with altered PPTs. After multimodal therapy, all participants reported increased local pain thresholds compared to at admission, independent of psychosocial chronification factors. (4) Conclusions: Psychosocial chronicity factors measured using the ÖMPSQ have a significant influence on pain sensitization in cLBP. A 14-day multimodal pain therapy increased local, but not peripheral, pressure pain thresholds.