Resting blood pressure and thermal pain responses among females: effects on pain unpleasantness but not pain intensity.
In order to investigate the influence of resting blood pressure on thermal pain responses among females, this experiment studied 21 pain-free, normotensive females (mean age 23) classified as having high (HBP) vs. low blood pressure (LBP) based on a median split of resting blood pressure collected prior to thermal testing. All subjects then underwent thermal pain testing, including determination of pain threshold and tolerance followed by verbal descriptor ratings of the intensity and unpleasantness of suprathreshold thermal stimuli, ranging from 45 to 49 degrees C. Thermal stimuli were delivered to the volar forearm and the ipsilateral face using a 1 cm2 contact thermode. Results indicated that the blood pressure groups did not differ in thermal pain threshold or tolerance or on ratings of the intensity of suprathreshold thermal stimuli. However, the HBP group provided significantly lower ratings of thermal pain unpleasantness than the LBP group (P < 0.01). These data indicate that resting blood pressure is inversely associated with pain sensitivity among females, but this relationship may be selective for the affective component of pain.
Fillingim, RB; Maixner, W; Bunting, S; Silva, S
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