The challenges and understanding of acute and chronic pain have been illuminated through the advancement of central neuroimaging. Through neuroimaging research, new technology and findings have allowed us to identify and understand the neural mechanisms contributing to chronic pain. Several regions of the brain are known to be of particular importance for the maintenance and amplification of chronic pain, and this knowledge provides novel targets for future research and treatment. This article reviews neuroimaging for the study of chronic pain, and in particular, the rapidly advancing and popular research tools of structural and functional MRI.
Sturgeon JA, Carriere JS, Kao MCJ, Rico T, Darnall BD, Mackey SC. Social Disruption Mediates the Relationship Between Perceived Injustice and Anger in Chronic Pain: a Collaborative Health Outcomes Information Registry Study. Ann. Behav. Med. 2016;50(6):802-812.
BACKGROUND: Perceptions of pain as unfair are a significant risk factor for poorer physical and psychological outcomes in acute injury and chronic pain. Chief among the negative emotions associated with perceived injustice is anger, arising through frustration of personal goals and unmet expectations regarding others behavior. However, despite a theoretical connection with anger, the social mediators of perceived injustice have not been demonstrated in chronic pain. PURPOSE: The current study examined two socially based variables and a broader measure of pain interference as mediators of the relationships between perceived injustice and both anger and pain intensity in a sample of 302 patients in a tertiary care pain clinic setting. METHODS: Data from the Collaborative Health Outcomes Information Registry (CHOIR) were analyzed using cross-sectional path modeling analyses to examine social isolation, satisfaction with social roles and activities, and pain-related interference as potential mediators of the relationships between perceived injustice and both anger and pain intensity. RESULTS: When modeled simultaneously, ratings of social isolation mediated the relationship between perceived injustice and anger, while pain-related interference and social satisfaction did not. Neither social variable was found to mediate the relationship between perceived injustice and pain intensity, however. CONCLUSIONS: The current findings highlight the strongly interpersonal nature of perceived injustice and anger in chronic pain, though these effects do not appear to extend to the intensity of pain itself. Nevertheless, the results highlight the need for interventions that ameliorate both maladaptive cognitive appraisal of pain and pain-related disruptions in social relationships.
IMPORTANCE: Chronic opioid use imposes a substantial burden in terms of morbidity and economic costs. Whether opioid-naive patients undergoing surgery are at increased risk for chronic opioid use is unknown, as are the potential risk factors for chronic opioid use following surgery. OBJECTIVE: To characterize the risk of chronic opioid use among opioid-naive patients following 1 of 11 surgical procedures compared with nonsurgical patients. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Retrospective analysis of administrative health claims to determine the association between chronic opioid use and surgery among privately insured patients between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2013. The data concluded 11 surgical procedures (total knee arthroplasty [TKA], total hip arthroplasty, laparoscopic cholecystectomy, open cholecystectomy, laparoscopic appendectomy, open appendectomy, cesarean delivery, functional endoscopic sinus surgery [FESS], cataract surgery, transurethral prostate resection [TURP], and simple mastectomy). Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to control for possible confounders, including sex, age, preoperative history of depression, psychosis, drug or alcohol abuse, and preoperatice use of benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and antidepressants. EXPOSURES: One of the 11 study surgical procedures. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Chronic opioid use, defined as having filled 10 or more prescriptions or more than 120 days supply of an opioid in the first year after surgery, excluding the first 90 postoperative days. For nonsurgical patients, chronic opioid use was defined as having filled 10 or more prescriptions or more than 120 days supply following a randomly assigned “surgery date.” RESULTS: The study included 641 941 opioid-naive surgical patients (169 666 men; mean [SD] age, 44.0 [12.8] years), and 18 011 137 opioid-naive nonsurgical patients (8 849 107 men; mean [SD] age, 42.4 [12.6] years). Among the surgical patients, the incidence of chronic opioid in the first preoperative year ranged from 0.119% for Cesarean delivery (95% CI, 0.104%-0.134%) to 1.41% for TKA (95% CI, 1.29%-1.53%) The baseline incidence of chronic opioid use among the nonsurgical patients was 0.136% (95% CI, 0.134%-0.137%). Except for cataract surgery, laparoscopic appendectomy, FESS, and TURP, all of the surgical procedures were associated with an increased risk of chronic opioid use, with odds ratios ranging from 1.28 (95% CI, 1.12-1.46) for cesarean delivery to 5.10 (95% CI, 4.67-5.58) for TKA. Male sex, age older than 50 years, and preoperative history of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, depression, benzodiazepine use, or antidepressant use were associated with chronic opioid use among surgical patients. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In opioid-naive patients, many surgical procedures are associated with an increased risk of chronic opioid use in the postoperative period. A certain subset of patients (eg, men, elderly patients) may be particularly vulnerable.
The Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) Research Network is an ongoing multi-center collaborative research group established to conduct integrated studies in participants with urologic chronic pelvic pain syndrome (UCPPS). The goal of these investigations is to provide new insights into the etiology, natural history, clinical, demographic and behavioral characteristics, search for new and evaluate candidate biomarkers, systematically test for contributions of infectious agents to symptoms, and conduct animal studies to understand underlying mechanisms for UCPPS. Study participants were enrolled in a one-year observational study and evaluated through a multisite, collaborative neuroimaging study to evaluate the association between UCPPS and brain structure and function. 3D T1-weighted structural images, resting-state fMRI, and high angular resolution diffusion MRI were acquired in five participating MAPP Network sites using 8 separate MRI hardware and software configurations. We describe the neuroimaging methods and procedures used to scan participants, the challenges encountered in obtaining data from multiple sites with different equipment/software, and our efforts to minimize site-to-site variation.
Limited research suggests that there may be Warm complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and Cold CRPS subtypes, with inflammatory mechanisms contributing most strongly to the former. This study for the first time used an unbiased statistical pattern recognition technique to evaluate whether distinct Warm vs Cold CRPS subtypes can be discerned in the clinical population. An international, multisite study was conducted using standardized procedures to evaluate signs and symptoms in 152 patients with clinical CRPS at baseline, with 3-month follow-up evaluations in 112 of these patients. Two-step cluster analysis using automated cluster selection identified a 2-cluster solution as optimal. Results revealed a Warm CRPS patient cluster characterized by a warm, red, edematous, and sweaty extremity and a Cold CRPS patient cluster characterized by a cold, blue, and less edematous extremity. Median pain duration was significantly (P \textless 0.001) shorter in the Warm CRPS (4.7 months) than in the Cold CRPS subtype (20 months), with pain intensity comparable. A derived total inflammatory score was significantly (P \textless 0.001) elevated in the Warm CRPS group (compared with Cold CRPS) at baseline but diminished significantly (P \textless 0.001) over the follow-up period, whereas this score did not diminish in the Cold CRPS group (time \$\times\$ subtype interaction: P \textless 0.001). Results support the existence of a Warm CRPS subtype common in patients with acute (\textless6 months) CRPS and a relatively distinct Cold CRPS subtype most common in chronic CRPS. The pattern of clinical features suggests that inflammatory mechanisms contribute most prominently to the Warm CRPS subtype but that these mechanisms diminish substantially during the first year postinjury.
Bhandari RP, Feinstein AB, Huestis SE, et al. Pediatric-Collaborative Health Outcomes Information Registry (Peds-CHOIR): a learning health system to guide pediatric pain research and treatment. Pain. 2016;157(9):2033-2044.
The pediatric adaptation of the Collaborative Health Outcomes Information Registry (Peds-CHOIR) is a free, open-source, flexible learning health care system (LHS) that meets the call by the Institute of Medicine for the development of national registries to guide research and precision pain medicine. This report is a technical account of the first application of Peds-CHOIR with 3 aims: (1) to describe the design and implementation process of the LHS; (2) to highlight how the clinical system concurrently cultivates a research platform rich in breadth (eg, clinic characteristics) and depth (eg, unique patient- and caregiver-reporting patterns); and (3) to demonstrate the utility of capturing patient-caregiver dyad data in real time, with dynamic outcomes tracking that informs clinical decisions and delivery of treatments. Technical, financial, and systems-based considerations of Peds-CHOIR are discussed. Cross-sectional retrospective data from patients with chronic pain (N = 352; range, 8-17 years; mean, 13.9 years) and their caregivers are reported, including National Institutes of Health Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) domains (mobility, pain interference, fatigue, peer relations, anxiety, and depression) and the Pain Catastrophizing Scale. Consistent with the literature, analyses of initial visits revealed impairments across physical, psychological, and social domains. Patients and caregivers evidenced agreement in observable variables (mobility); however, caregivers consistently endorsed greater impairment regarding internal experiences (pain interference, fatigue, peer relations, anxiety, and depression) than patients self-report. A platform like Peds-CHOIR highlights predictors of chronic pain outcomes on a group level and facilitates individually tailored treatment(s). Challenges of implementation and future directions are discussed.
OBJECTIVE: The Institute of Medicine and the draft National Pain Strategy recently called for better training for health care clinicians. This was the first high-level needs assessment for pain psychology services and resources in the United States. DESIGN: Prospective, observational, cross-sectional. METHODS: Brief surveys were administered online to six stakeholder groups (psychologists/therapists, individuals with chronic pain, pain physicians, primary care physicians/physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and the directors of graduate and postgraduate psychology training programs). RESULTS: 1,991 responses were received. Results revealed low confidence and low perceived competency to address physical pain among psychologists/therapists, and high levels of interest and need for pain education. We found broad support for pain psychology across stakeholder groups, and global support for a national initiative to increase pain training and competency in U.S. therapists. Among directors of graduate and postgraduate psychology training programs, we found unanimous interest for a no-cost pain psychology curriculum that could be integrated into existing programs. Primary barriers to pain psychology include lack of a system to identify qualified therapists, paucity of therapists with pain training, limited awareness of the psychological treatment modality, and poor insurance coverage. CONCLUSIONS: This report calls for transformation within psychology predoctoral and postdoctoral education and training and psychology continuing education to include and emphasize pain and pain management. A system for certification is needed to facilitate quality control and appropriate reimbursement. There is a need for systems to facilitate identification and access to practicing psychologists and therapists skilled in the treatment of pain.
Dixon EA, Benham G, Sturgeon JA, Mackey S, Johnson KA, Younger J. Development of the Sensory Hypersensitivity Scale (SHS): a self-report tool for assessing sensitivity to sensory stimuli. J. Behav. Med. 2016;39(3):537-550.
Sensory hypersensitivity is one manifestation of the central sensitization that may underlie conditions such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. We conducted five studies designed to develop and validate the Sensory Hypersensitive Scale (SHS); a 25-item self-report measure of sensory hypersensitivity. The SHS assesses both general sensitivity and modality-specific sensitivity (e.g. touch, taste, and hearing). 1202 participants (157 individuals with chronic pain) completed the SHS, which demonstrated an adequate overall internal reliability (Cronbach s alpha) of 0.81, suggesting the tool can be used as a cross-modality assessment of sensitivity. SHS scores demonstrated only modest correlations (Pearson s r) with depressive symptoms (0.19) and anxiety (0.28), suggesting a low level of overlap with psychiatric complaints. Overall SHS scores showed significant but relatively modest correlations (Pearson s r) with three measures of sensory testing: cold pain tolerance (-0.34); heat pain tolerance (-0.285); heat pain threshold (-0.271). Women reported significantly higher scores on the SHS than did men, although gender-based differences were small. In a chronic pain sample, individuals with fibromyalgia syndrome demonstrated significantly higher SHS scores than did individuals with osteoarthritis or back pain. The SHS appears suitable as a screening measure for sensory hypersensitivity, though additional research is warranted to determine its suitability as a proxy for central sensitization.
Neural models of major depressive disorder (MDD) posit that over-response of components of the brain s salience network (SN) to negative stimuli plays a crucial role in the pathophysiology of MDD. In the present proof-of-concept study, we tested this formulation directly by examining the affective consequences of training depressed persons to down-regulate response of SN nodes to negative material. Ten participants in the real neurofeedback group saw, and attempted to learn to down-regulate, activity from an empirically identified node of the SN. Ten other participants engaged in an equivalent procedure with the exception that they saw SN-node neurofeedback indices from participants in the real neurofeedback group. Before and after scanning, all participants completed tasks assessing emotional responses to negative scenes and to negative and positive self-descriptive adjectives. Compared to participants in the sham-neurofeedback group, from pre- to post-training, participants in the real-neurofeedback group showed a greater decrease in SN-node response to negative stimuli, a greater decrease in self-reported emotional response to negative scenes, and a greater decrease in self-reported emotional response to negative self-descriptive adjectives. Our findings provide support for a neural formulation in which the SN plays a primary role in contributing to negative cognitive biases in MDD.
Huang L, Kutch JJ, Ellingson BM, et al. Brain white matter changes associated with urological chronic pelvic pain syndrome: multisite neuroimaging from a MAPP case-control study. Pain. 2016;157(12):2782-2791.
Clinical phenotyping of urological chronic pelvic pain syndromes (UCPPSs) in men and women have focused on end organ abnormalities to identify putative clinical subtypes. Initial evidence of abnormal brain function and structure in male pelvic pain has necessitated large-scale, multisite investigations into potential UCPPS brain biomarkers. We present the first evidence of regional white matter (axonal) abnormalities in men and women with UCPPS, compared with positive (irritable bowel syndrome, IBS) and healthy controls. Epidemiological and neuroimaging data were collected from participants with UCPPS (n = 52), IBS (n = 39), and healthy sex- and age-matched controls (n = 61). White matter microstructure, measured as fractional anisotropy (FA), was examined by diffusion tensor imaging. Group differences in regional FA positively correlated with pain severity, including segments of the right corticospinal tract and right anterior thalamic radiation. Increased corticospinal FA was specific and sensitive to UCPPS, positively correlated with pain severity, and reflected sensory (not affective) features of pain. Reduced anterior thalamic radiation FA distinguished patients with IBS from those with UCPPS and controls, suggesting greater microstructural divergence from normal tract organization. Findings confirm that regional white matter abnormalities characterize UCPPS and can distinguish between visceral diagnoses, suggesting that regional axonal microstructure is either altered with ongoing pain or predisposes its development.