Cold pain threshold identifies a subgroup of patients with knee osteoarthritis that present with multimodality hyperalgesia and elevated pain levels

Anthony Wright, Heather A.E. Benson, Robert Will, Penny Moss

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    21 Citations (Scopus)


    OBJECTIVES:: Cold hyperalgesia has been established as an important marker of pain severity in a number of conditions. This study aimed to establish the extent to which patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) demonstrate widespread cold, heat, and pressure hyperalgesia. OA participants with widespread cold hyperalgesia were compared with the remaining OA cohort to determine whether they could be distinguished in terms of hyperalgesia, pain report, pain quality, and physical function. METHODS:: A total of 80 participants with knee OA and 40 matched healthy controls participated. OA participants completed a washout of their usual medication. Quantitative sensory testing was completed at 3 sites using standard methods. Cold pain threshold (CPT) and heat pain thresholds (HPT) were tested using a Peltier thermode and pressure pain thresholds (PPT) using a digital algometer. All participants completed the short-form health survey questionnaire and OA participants completed the PainDETECT, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities , and pain quality assessment scale questionnaires. RESULTS:: OA participants demonstrated widespread cold hyperalgesia (P<0.0001), had lower PPT at the index knee (P<0.0001) compared with controls and reported decreased physical health on the SF-36 (P=0.01). The OA subcohort with high global CPT (≥12.25°C) exhibited multimodality sensitization compared with the remaining OA cohort (PPT P<0.0001; CPT P<0.0001; HPT P=0.021 index knee). This group also reported increased pain, decreased function, and more features of neuropathic pain. DISCUSSION:: This study identified a specific subgroup of patients with knee OA who exhibited widespread, multimodality hyperalgesia, more pain, more features of neuropathic pain, and greater functional impairment. Identification of patients with this pain phenotype may permit more targeted and effective pain management.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)793–803
    Number of pages11
    JournalClinical Journal of Pain
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017


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