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      Journal of Pain Research (submit here)

      This international, peer-reviewed Open Access journal by Dove Medical Press focuses on reporting of high-quality laboratory and clinical findings in all fields of pain research and the prevention and management of pain. Sign up for email alerts here.

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      Observing continuous change in heart rate variability and photoplethysmography-derived parameters during the process of pain production/relief with thermal stimuli


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          Continuously monitoring and efficiently managing pain has become an important issue. However, no study has investigated a change in physiological parameters during the process of pain production/relief. This study modeled the process of pain production/relief using ramped thermal stimulation (no pain: 37°C water, process of pain production: a heating rate of 1°C/min, and subject feels pain: water kept at the painful temperature for each subject, with each segment lasting 10 min). In this duration, the variation of the heat rate variability and photoplethysmography-derived parameters was observed. A total of 40 healthy individuals participated: 30 in the trial group (14 males and 16 females with a mean age of 22.5±1.9 years) and 10 in the control group (7 males and 3 females with a mean age of 22.5±1.3 years). The results showed that the numeric rating scale value was 5.03±1.99 when the subjects felt pain, with a temperature of 43.54±1.70°C. Heart rate, R-R interval, low frequency, high frequency, photoplethysmography amplitude, baseline, and autonomic nervous system state showed significant changes during the pain production process, but these changes differed during the period Segment D (painful temperature 10: min). In summary, the study observed that physiological parameters changed qualitatively during the process of pain production and relief and found that the high frequency, low frequency, and photoplethysmography parameters seemed to have different responses in four situations (no pain, pain production, pain experienced, and pain relief). The trends of these variations may be used as references in the clinical setting for continuously observing pain intensity.

          Most cited references29

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          Pain: an overview.

          Until the 1960s, pain was considered an inevitable sensory response to tissue damage. There was little room for the affective dimension of this ubiquitous experience, and none whatsoever for the effects of genetic differences, past experience, anxiety, or expectation. In recent years, great advances have been made in our understanding of the mechanisms that underlie pain and in the treatment of people who complain of pain. The roles of factors outside the patient's body have also been clarified. Pain is probably the most common symptomatic reason to seek medical consultation. All of us have headaches, burns, cuts, and other pains at some time during childhood and adult life. Individuals who undergo surgery are almost certain to have postoperative pain. Ageing is also associated with an increased likelihood of chronic pain. Health-care expenditures for chronic pain are enormous, rivalled only by the costs of wage replacement and welfare programmes for those who do not work because of pain. Despite improved knowledge of underlying mechanisms and better treatments, many people who have chronic pain receive inadequate care.
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            Heart rate variability and experimentally induced pain in healthy adults: a systematic review.

            Reactivity of the autonomic nervous system to experimental pain stimuli has been extensively studied using measures of heart rate and blood pressure. Heart rate variability (HRV) attempts to tease out the relative contributions of sympathetic and parasympathetic activity in the autonomic control of the heart and may therefore be more appropriate to investigate autonomic response to short-term nociceptive stimulation in detail. The current evidence on HRV and experimentally induced pain has not yet been synthesized within a systematic review.
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              Heart rate variability and pain: associations of two interrelated homeostatic processes.

              Between-person variability in pain sensitivity remains poorly understood. Given a conceptualization of pain as a homeostatic emotion, we hypothesized inverse associations between measures of resting heart rate variability (HRV), an index of autonomic regulation of heart rate that has been linked to emotionality, and sensitivity to subsequently administered thermal pain. Resting electrocardiography was collected, and frequency-domain measures of HRV were derived through spectral analysis. Fifty-nine right-handed participants provided ratings of pain intensity and unpleasantness following exposure to 4 degrees C thermal pain stimulation, and indicated their thresholds for barely noticeable and moderate pain during three exposures to decreasing temperature. Greater low-frequency HRV was associated with lower ratings of 4 degrees C pain unpleasantness and higher thresholds for barely noticeable and moderate pain. High-frequency HRV was unrelated to measures of pain sensitivity. Findings suggest pain sensitivity is influenced by characteristics of a central homeostatic system also involved in emotion.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                06 March 2017
                : 10
                : 527-533
                Department of Biomedical Engineering, Chung Yuan Christian University, Chung Li, Taiwan
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Chiung-Cheng Chuang, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Chung Yuan Christian University, No. 200, Zhongbei Road, Zhongli City, Taoyuan County, 32023, Taiwan, Tel +886 3 265 4510, Fax +886 3 265 4599, Email cheng965@ 123456cycu.edu.tw
                © 2017 Ye et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Anesthesiology & Pain management
                pain production,heart rate variability,photoplethysmography,thermal stimuli


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