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Experimental pain sensitivity was assessed in individuals with urologic chronic pelvic pain syndrome (UCPPS) as part of the Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) Research Network. A series of computer-controlled pressure stimuli were delivered to the thumbnail bed, an asymptomatic site distant from the area of UCPPS pain that is considered to be indicative of overall body pain threshold. Stimuli were rated according to a standardized magnitude estimation protocol. Pain sensitivity in participants with UCPPS was compared with healthy controls and a mixed pain group composed of individuals with other chronic overlapping pain conditions, including fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and irritable bowel syndromes. Data from 6 participating MAPP testing sites were pooled for analysis. Participants with UCPPS (n = 153) exhibited an intermediate pain sensitivity phenotype: they were less sensitive relative to the mixed pain group (n = 35) but significantly more sensitive than healthy controls (n = 100). Increased pain sensitivity in patients with UCPPS was associated with both higher levels of clinical pain severity and more painful body areas outside the pelvic region. Exploratory analyses in participants with UCPPS revealed that pain sensitivity increased during periods of urologic symptom flare and that less pressure pain sensitivity at baseline was associated with a greater likelihood of subsequent genitourinary pain improvement 1 year later. The finding that individuals with UCPPS demonstrate nonpelvic pain hypersensitivity that is related to clinical symptoms suggests that central nervous system mechanisms of pain amplification contribute to UCPPS.

(C) 2019 International Association for the Study of Pain