Self-reported sensory descriptors are associated with quantitative sensory testing parameters in patients with cervical radiculopathy, but not in patients with fibromyalgia
Article first published online: 26 OCT 2012
© 2012 European Federation of International Association for the Study of Pain Chapters
European Journal of Pain
Volume 17, Issue 4, pages 621–633, April 2013
How to Cite
Tampin, B., Briffa, N.K. and Slater, H. (2013), Self-reported sensory descriptors are associated with quantitative sensory testing parameters in patients with cervical radiculopathy, but not in patients with fibromyalgia. European Journal of Pain, 17: 621–633. doi: 10.1002/j.1532-2149.2012.00227.x
This study was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (Grant 425560), Arthritis Australia (Victorian Ladies' Bowls Association Grant) and the Physiotherapy Research Foundation (seeding grant).
Conflicts of interest
- Issue published online: 14 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 26 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 6 SEP 2012
- National Health and Medical Research Council. Grant Number: 425560
- Arthritis Australia
- Physiotherapy Research Foundation
The painDETECT questionnaire (PD-Q) has been used as a tool to characterize sensory abnormalities in patients with persistent pain. This study investigated whether the self-reported sensory descriptors of patients with painful cervical radiculopathy (CxRAD) and patients with fibromyalgia (FM), as characterized by responses to verbal sensory descriptors from PD-Q (sensitivity to light touch, cold, heat, slight pressure, feeling of numbness in the main area of pain), were associated with the corresponding sensory parameters as demonstrated by quantitative sensory testing (QST).
Twenty-three patients with CxRAD (eight women, 46.3 ± 9.6 years) and 22 patients with FM (20 women, 46.1 ± 11.5 years) completed the PD-Q. Standardized QST of dynamic mechanical allodynia, cold and heat pain thresholds, pressure pain thresholds, mechanical and vibration detection thresholds, was recorded from the maximal pain area. Comparative QST data from 31 age-matched healthy controls (HCs; 15 women) were obtained.
Patients with CxRAD demonstrated a match between their self-reported descriptors and QST parameters for all sensory parameters except for sensitivity to light touch, and these matches were statistically significant compared with HC data (p ≤ 0.006). The FM group demonstrated discrepancies between the PD-Q and QST sensory phenotypes for all sensory descriptors, indicating that the self-reported sensory descriptors did not consistently match the QST parameters (p = ≤0.017).
Clinicians and researchers should be cautious about relying on PD-Q as a stand-alone screening tool to determine sensory abnormalities in patients with FM.