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Pain Quality Helps Predict Impact on Patient's Life

For the first time, a study featured in The Journal of Pain examines the associations between pain quality and changes in patient functioning and quality of life, using carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers as study participants.

For the first time, a study featured in The Journal of Pain examines the associations between pain quality and changes in patient functioning and quality of life, using carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers as study participants.

The participants reported itching and throbbing pain as the qualities most responsible for impaired functioning and sleep disruption. The researchers, from the University of Washington, hypothesized that pain quality ratings would show significant independent associations with function interference and sleep disruption.

The participants were enrolled in a clinical trial that compared lidocaine patch 5% to naproxen 500 mg and were then given the Brief Pain Inventory questionnaire. Sleep quality was assessed using the five point rating scale.

Researchers found that measures of specific pain qualities were associated with changes in patient functioning beyond pain intensity and global pain measures.

“Pain is much more than just intensity and unpleasantness," said lead author Mark P. Jensen, PhD, in a press release. "Knowledge of pain quality, as well as pain intensity, provides additional clues for understanding the impact of pain on patient's life."