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Journal of Oral & Facial Pain and Headache
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J Orofac Pain 30 (2016), No. 2     20. May 2016
J Orofac Pain 30 (2016), No. 2  (20.05.2016)

Page 120-126


Is the Nociceptive Blink Reflex Associated with Psychological Factors in Healthy Participants?
Costa, Yuri Martins / Baad-Hansen, Lene / Bonjardim, Leonardo Rigoldi / Conti, Paulo César Rodrigues / Svensson, Peter
Aims: To evaluate the possible association between the nociceptive blink reflex (nBR) and various pain-related psychological measures: the Anxiety Sensitivity Index-3 (ASI-3), the Fear of Pain Questionnaire III (FPQ-III), the Pain Vigilance and Awareness Questionnaire (PVAQ), the Somatosensory Amplification Scale (SSAS), the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS), and the Situational Pain Catastrophizing Scale (S-PCS).
Methods: The nBR was evaluated in 21 healthy participants. It was elicited by a nociceptive-specific electrode placed over the entry zone of the right supraorbital nerve, infraorbital nerve, and mental nerve, as well as the left infraorbital nerve. The outcomes were (1) nBR measurements: (a) individual electrical sensory threshold (I0) and pain threshold (IP); (b) root mean square (RMS), area under the curve (AUC), and onset latencies of R2 responses; (c) stimulus-evoked pain on a 0 to 10 numeric rating scale (NRS); and (2) the ASI-3, the FPQ-III, the PVAQ, the SSAS, the PCS, and the S-PCS. Pearson correlation coefficient was used to evaluate the association between the means of nBR measurements from all sites and the questionnaires The significance level was set up after a Bonferroni correction (adjusted α = .8%).
Results: There was no correlation for any pair of variables at the adjusted significance level (P > .008). There was only a single significant correlation at the standard significance level (P < .05), where the pain intensity (NRS) at 50% of IP presented a positive and small to moderate correlation with the PCS (r = 0.43, P = .04).
Conclusion: It appears that the nBR and its associated psychophysical measures are not associated with psychological factors in healthy participants.

Keywords: nociceptive blink reflex, pain catastrophizing, pain-related anxiety, pain vigilance, somatosensory amplification