Symptom Profiles Differ in Patients With Neuropathic Versus Non-neuropathic Pain

Robert H. Dworkin, Mark P. Jensen, Arnold R. Gammaitoni, David O. Olaleye and Bradley S. Galer 

The distinction between neuropathic and non-neuropathic pain reflects partially distinct mechanisms and patterns of treatment response. It was therefore hypothesized that patients with neuropathic and non-neuropathic pain have different profiles of symptoms and signs. To test this hypothesis, pain intensity, unpleasantness, quality, and spatial characteristics were examined in 618 patients with 1 of 3 peripheral neuropathic pain conditions, osteoarthritis pain, or low back pain. Patients with osteoarthritis pain and low back pain did not differ in their profile of pain quality and spatial characteristics and were combined to form a group of patients with non-neuropathic pain. In univariate analyses, patients with peripheral neuropathic pain reported significantly more intense hot, cold, sensitive, itchy, and surface pain and significantly less intense dull and deep pain than patients with non-neuropathic pain. The results indicate that the distinction between neuropathic and non-neuropathic pain is reflected in different profiles of pain quality and spatial characteristics and suggest that the assessment of patterns of pain symptoms might contribute to the identification of distinct pathophysiologic mechanisms and the development of mechanism-based treatment approaches.

The Journal of Pain, Volume 8, Issue 2, February 2007, Pages 118-126

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