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Modulation of intracortical inhibition in response to acute psychosocial stress is impaired among individuals with chronic neck pain

Marker, Ryan J., Stephenson, Jennifer L., Kluger, Benzi M., Curran-Everett, Douglas and Maluf, Katrina S. 2014. Modulation of intracortical inhibition in response to acute psychosocial stress is impaired among individuals with chronic neck pain. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 76 (3) , pp. 249-256. 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2013.12.001

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Abstract

ObjectivePsychosocial stress has been associated with a variety of chronic pain disorders although the mechanisms responsible for this relationship are unknown. The purpose of this study was to compare the excitability of intracortical and corticospinal pathways to the trapezius muscle in individuals with and without chronic neck pain during exposure to low and high levels of psychosocial stress.MethodsSingle and paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation was used to assess motor evoked potentials (MEPs) and short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) during mental math performed in the presence and absence of social evaluative threat.ResultsAll participants demonstrated higher amplitude MEPs in the high stress compared to the low stress condition (p < 0.01). Participants with chronic neck pain had significantly greater SICI than healthy participants in the low stress condition (p = 0.03). During exposure to the stressor, healthy participants showed an increase in SICI, whereas participants with neck pain showed no change (group difference for change in SICI, p < 0.01).ConclusionsThese findings suggest that individuals with chronic neck pain inhibit motor output to the trapezius in the presence of minor stressors, and are unable to compensate for additional stress-evoked increases in corticospinal excitability through further modulation of SICI. This observation has potential implications for the management of patients who have difficulty relaxing painful muscles during times of stress.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0022-3999
Date of Acceptance: 2 December 2013
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 13:45
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/97504

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