Sex differences in experimental and clinical pain sensitivity for patients with shoulder pain.
Previous research demonstrates that men and women differ in the way that they perceive and process pain. Much of this work has been done in healthy adults with a lack of consensus in clinical pain populations. The purpose of this study was to investigate how men and women with shoulder pain differ in their experience of experimental and clinical pain and whether psychological processes differentially affect these responses. Fifty-nine consecutive subjects (24 women, 35 men) seeking operative treatment for shoulder pain were enrolled in this study. Subjects completed self report questionnaires to assess clinical pain, catastrophizing, anxiety and depression and underwent a series of experimental pain tests consisting of pressure pain, thermal pain (threshold and tolerance), and thermal temporal summation. Results indicated that women experienced greater clinical pain and enhanced sensitivity to pressure pain. Age did not affect the observed sex differences. There were no sex differences in psychological association with experimental and clinical pain in this cohort. The relationship between clinical and experimental pressure pain was stronger in women as compared to men. These findings offer insight into the interactions between biological and psychosocial influences of pain and how these interactions vary by sex.
Kindler, LL; Valencia, C; Fillingim, RB; George, SZ
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