I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 19 Aug 2023 - 25 Aug 2023

Basic Science

Human Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Orofacial/Head Pain, Psychological/Comorbidities


PLoS One




Suffering from chronic tinnitus, chronic neck pain, or both: Does it impact the presence of signs and symptoms of central sensitization?


De Meulemeester K, Meeus M, De Pauw R, Cagnie B, Keppler H, Lenoir D


Chronic subjective tinnitus is a prevalent symptom, which has many similarities with chronic pain. Central sensitization is considered as a possible underlying mechanism of both symptoms. Central sensitization has already been investigated in chronic pain populations but not in patients with chronic subjective tinnitus. Therefore, the main objective of this cross-sectional study was to compare signs and symptoms, indicative for central sensitization, in tinnitus patients with and without chronic idiopathic neck pain, patients with chronic idiopathic neck pain only, and healthy controls. Also, differences in psychological and lifestyle factors, possibly influencing the association between central sensitization and tinnitus, were examined as well as correlations between signs and symptoms of central sensitization, and tinnitus, pain, psychological and lifestyle factors. Differences in signs and symptoms of central sensitization were examined using the self-report Central Sensitization Inventory and QST protocol (local and distant mechanical and heat hyperalgesia, conditioned pain modulation). Tinnitus, pain, psychological and lifestyle factors were evaluated using self-report questionnaires. Symptoms of central sensitization and local mechanical hyperalgesia were significantly more present in both tinnitus groups, compared to healthy controls, but were most extensive in the group with chronic tinnitus+chronic idiopathic neck pain. Distant mechanical hyperalgesia, indicative for central sensitization, was only observed in the group with both chronic tinnitus+chronic idiopathic neck pain. This group also displayed a significantly higher psychological burden and poorer sleep than patients with chronic tinnitus only and healthy controls. Signs and symptoms of central sensitization were also shown to be associated with tinnitus impact, pain-related disability, psychological burden and sleep disturbances. This study shows preliminary evidence for the presence of central sensitization in patients with chronic tinnitus+chronic idiopathic neck pain. This could be explained by the higher perceived tinnitus impact, psychological burden and sleep problems in this group. Trial registration: This study is registered as NCT05186259 (www.clinicaltrials.gov).