Publications by Year: 2013
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a technique that uses blood oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signals to elucidate discrete areas of neuronal activity. Despite the significant number of fMRI human brain studies, few researchers have applied fMRI technology to investigating neuronal activity within the human spinal cord. Our study goals were to demonstrate that fMRI could reveal the following: (i) appropriate somatotopic activations in response to noxious stimuli in the deep and superficial dorsal horn of the human cervical spinal cord, and (ii) lateralization of fMRI activations in response to noxious stimulation in the right and left upper extremity. We subjected healthy participants to noxious stimulation during fMRI scans. Using a spiral in-out image sequence and retrospective correction for physiologic noise, we demonstrated that fMRI can create high-resolution, neuronal activation maps of the human cervical spinal cord. During nociceptive stimulation of all 4 sites (left deltoid, right deltoid, left thenar eminence and right thenar eminence), we found ipsilateral dorsal horn activation. Stimulation of the deltoid activated C5, whereas stimulation of the thenar eminence activated C6. Our study contributes to creating an objective analysis of pain transmission; other investigators can use these results to further study central nervous system changes that occur in patients with acute and chronic pain.
Younger J, Noor N, McCue R, Mackey S. Low-dose naltrexone for the treatment of fibromyalgia: findings of a small, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, crossover trial assessing daily pain levels. Arthritis Rheum. 2013;65(2):529-538.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether low dosages (4.5 mg/day) of naltrexone reduce fibromyalgia severity as compared with the nonspecific effects of placebo. In this replication and extension study of a previous clinical trial, we tested the impact of low-dose naltrexone on daily self-reported pain. Secondary outcomes included general satisfaction with life, positive mood, sleep quality, and fatigue. METHODS: Thirty-one women with fibromyalgia participated in the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, crossover study. During the active drug phase, participants received 4.5 mg of oral naltrexone daily. An intensive longitudinal design was used to measure daily levels of pain. RESULTS: When contrasting the condition end points, we observed a significantly greater reduction of baseline pain in those taking low-dose naltrexone than in those taking placebo (28.8% reduction versus 18.0% reduction; P = 0.016). Low-dose naltrexone was also associated with improved general satisfaction with life (P = 0.045) and with improved mood (P = 0.039), but not improved fatigue or sleep. Thirty-two percent of participants met the criteria for response (defined as a significant reduction in pain plus a significant reduction in either fatigue or sleep problems) during low-dose naltrexone therapy, as contrasted with an 11% response rate during placebo therapy (P = 0.05). Low-dose naltrexone was rated equally tolerable as placebo, and no serious side effects were reported. CONCLUSION: The preliminary evidence continues to show that low-dose naltrexone has a specific and clinically beneficial impact on fibromyalgia pain. The medication is widely available, inexpensive, safe, and well-tolerated. Parallel-group randomized controlled trials are needed to fully determine the efficacy of the medication.
UNLABELLED: Use of opioid analgesics for pain management has increased dramatically over the past decade, with corresponding increases in negative sequelae including overdose and death. There is currently no well-validated objective means of accurately identifying patients likely to experience good analgesia with low side effects and abuse risk prior to initiating opioid therapy. This paper discusses the concept of data-based personalized prescribing of opioid analgesics as a means to achieve this goal. Strengths, weaknesses, and potential synergism of traditional randomized placebo-controlled trial (RCT) and practice-based evidence (PBE) methodologies as means to acquire the clinical data necessary to develop validated personalized analgesic-prescribing algorithms are overviewed. Several predictive factors that might be incorporated into such algorithms are briefly discussed, including genetic factors, differences in brain structure and function, differences in neurotransmitter pathways, and patient phenotypic variables such as negative affect, sex, and pain sensitivity. Currently available research is insufficient to inform development of quantitative analgesic-prescribing algorithms. However, responder subtype analyses made practical by the large numbers of chronic pain patients in proposed collaborative PBE pain registries, in conjunction with follow-up validation RCTs, may eventually permit development of clinically useful analgesic-prescribing algorithms. PERSPECTIVE: Current research is insufficient to base opioid analgesic prescribing on patient characteristics. Collaborative PBE studies in large, diverse pain patient samples in conjunction with follow-up RCTs may permit development of quantitative analgesic-prescribing algorithms that could optimize opioid analgesic effectiveness and mitigate risks of opioid-related abuse and mortality.
Approximately 10% of patients following a variety of surgeries develop chronic postsurgical pain. Reducing chronic postoperative pain is especially important to reconstructive surgeons because common operations such as breast and limb reconstruction have even higher risk for developing chronic postsurgical pain. Animal studies of posttraumatic nerve injury pain demonstrate that there is a critical time frame before and immediately after nerve injury in which specific interventions can reduce the incidence and intensity of chronic neuropathic pain behaviors-so called “preventative analgesia.” In animal models, perineural local anesthetic, systemic intravenous local anesthetic, perineural clonidine, systemic gabapentin, systemic tricyclic antidepressants, and minocycline have each been shown to reduce pain behaviors days to weeks after treatment. The translation of this work to humans also suggests that brief perioperative interventions may protect patients from developing new chronic postsurgical pain. Recent clinical trial data show that there is an opportunity during the perioperative period to dramatically reduce the incidence and severity of chronic postsurgical pain. The surgeon, working with the anesthesiologist, has the ability to modify both early and chronic postoperative pain by implementing an evidence-based preventative analgesia plan.
Neuropathic pain (NP) is often refractory to pharmacologic and noninterventional treatment. On behalf of the International Association for the Study of Pain Neuropathic Pain Special Interest Group, the authors evaluated systematic reviews, clinical trials, and existing guidelines for the interventional management of NP. Evidence is summarized and presented for neural blockade, spinal cord stimulation (SCS), intrathecal medication, and neurosurgical interventions in patients with the following peripheral and central NP conditions: herpes zoster and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN); painful diabetic and other peripheral neuropathies; spinal cord injury NP; central poststroke pain; radiculopathy and failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS); complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS); and trigeminal neuralgia and neuropathy. Due to the paucity of high-quality clinical trials, no strong recommendations can be made. Four weak recommendations based on the amount and consistency of evidence, including degree of efficacy and safety, are: 1) epidural injections for herpes zoster; 2) steroid injections for radiculopathy; 3) SCS for FBSS; and 4) SCS for CRPS type 1. Based on the available data, we recommend not to use sympathetic blocks for PHN nor radiofrequency lesions for radiculopathy. No other conclusive recommendations can be made due to the poor quality of available data. Whenever possible, these interventions should either be part of randomized clinical trials or documented in pain registries. Priorities for future research include randomized clinical trials, long-term studies, and head-to-head comparisons among different interventional and noninterventional treatments.
Kong JT, Schnyer RN, Johnson KA, Mackey S. Understanding central mechanisms of acupuncture analgesia using dynamic quantitative sensory testing: a review. Evid. Based. Complement. Alternat. Med. 2013;2013:187182.
We discuss the emerging translational tools for the study of acupuncture analgesia with a focus on psychophysical methods. The gap between animal mechanistic studies and human clinical trials of acupuncture analgesia calls for effective translational tools that bridge neurophysiological data with meaningful clinical outcomes. Temporal summation (TS) and conditioned pain modulation (CPM) are two promising tools yet to be widely utilized. These psychophysical measures capture the state of the ascending facilitation and the descending inhibition of nociceptive transmission, respectively. We review the basic concepts and current methodologies underlying these measures in clinical pain research, and illustrate their application to research on acupuncture analgesia. Finally, we highlight the strengths and limitations of these research methods and make recommendations on future directions. The appropriate addition of TS and CPM to our current research armamentarium will facilitate our efforts to elucidate the central analgesic mechanisms of acupuncture in clinical populations.
UNLABELLED: Temporal summation (TS) refers to the increased perception of pain with repetitive noxious stimuli. It is a behavioral correlate of wind-up, the spinal facilitation of recurring C-fiber stimulation. In order to utilize TS in clinical pain research, it is important to characterize TS in a wide range of individuals and to establish its test-retest reliability. Building on a fixed-parameter protocol, we developed an individually adjusted protocol to broadly capture thermally generated TS. We then examined the test-retest reliability of TS within-day (intertrial intervals ranging from 2 to 30 minutes) and between-days (intersession interval of 7 days). We generated TS-like effects in 19 of the 21 participants. Strong correlations were observed across all trials over both days (intraclass correlation [ICC] [A, 10] = .97, 95% confidence level [CL] = .94-.99) and across the initial trials between days (ICC [A, 1] = .83, 95% CL = .58-.93). Repeated measures mixed-effects modeling demonstrated no significant within-day variation and only a small (5 out of 100 points) between-day variation. Finally, a Bland-Altman analysis suggested that TS is reliable across the range of observed scores. Without intervention, thermally-generated TS is generally stable within day and between days. PERSPECTIVE: Our study introduces a new strategy to generate thermal TS in a high proportion of individuals. This study confirms the test-retest reliability of thermal TS, supporting its use as a consistent behavioral correlate of central nociceptive facilitation.
Krieger J, Stephens A, Landis R, et al. 443 NON-UROLOGICAL SYNDROMES AND SEVERITY OF UROLOGICAL PAIN SYMPTOMS: BASELINE EVALUATION OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO PELVIC PAIN STUDY. J. Urol. 2013;189(4S):e181.