Quantitative sensory testing and mapping a review of nonautomated quantitative methods for examination of the patient with neuropathic pain

David Walk, Nalini Sehgal, Tobias Moeller-Bertram, Robert R. Edwards, Ajay Wasan, Mark Wallace, Gordon Irving, Charles Argoff, Misha Miroslav Backonja

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: Despite a growing interest in neuropathic pain, neurologists and pain specialists do not have a standard, validated, office examination for the evaluation of neuropathic pain signs to complement the neurologic, musculoskeletal, and general physical examinations. An office neuropathic pain examination focused on quantifying sensory features of neuropathic pain, ranging from deficits to allodynia and hyperalgesia, and evoked by a physiologically representative array of stimuli, will be an essential tool to monitor treatment effectiveness and for clinical investigation into the mechanisms and management of neuropathic pain. Such an examination should include mapping of areas of stimulus-evoked neuropathic pain and standardized, reproducible quantitative sensory testing (QST) of tactile, punctuate, pressure, and thermal modalities. Methods: We review quantitative sensory testing methodology in general and specific tests for the evaluation of neuropathic pain phenomena. Results: Numerous quantitative sensory testing techniques for dynamic mechanical, pressure, vibration, and thermal sensory testing and mapping have been described. We propose a comprehensive neuropathic pain evaluation protocol that is based upon these available techniques. Conclusions: A comprehensive neuropathic pain evaluation protocol is essential for further advancement of clinical research in neuropathic pain. A protocol that uses tools readily available in clinical practice, when established and validated, can be used widely and thus accelerate data collection for clinical research and increase clinical awareness of the features of neuropathic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-640
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Journal of Pain
Volume25
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2009

Keywords

  • Allodynia
  • Hyperalgesia
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Pain testing
  • QST
  • Quantitative sensory testing

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