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Scandinavian Journal of Pain

Official Journal of the Scandinavian Association for the Study of Pain

Editor-in-Chief: Werner, Mads


CiteScore 2018: 0.85

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.494
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.427

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1877-8879
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Volume 16, Issue 1

Issues

Evaluating the ability of non-rectangular electrical pulse forms to preferentially activate nociceptive fibers by comparing perception thresholds

R. Hugosdottir
  • Department of Health Science and Technology, SMI, Center of Neuroplasticity and Pain, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
  • School of Engineering and Science, Reykjavik University, Reykjavik, Iceland
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  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ C.D. Mørch
  • Department of Health Science and Technology, SMI, Center of Neuroplasticity and Pain, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
  • School of Engineering and Science, Reykjavik University, Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ O.K. Andersen
  • Department of Health Science and Technology, SMI, Center of Neuroplasticity and Pain, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
  • School of Engineering and Science, Reykjavik University, Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ T. Helgason
  • Department of Health Science and Technology, SMI, Center of Neuroplasticity and Pain, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
  • School of Engineering and Science, Reykjavik University, Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ L. Arendt-Nielsen
  • Department of Health Science and Technology, SMI, Center of Neuroplasticity and Pain, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
  • School of Engineering and Science, Reykjavik University, Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2017-07-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sjpain.2017.04.032

Abstract

Aims

Selective activation of nociceptive fibers is difficult using electrical stimulation as the activation threshold is higher than for non-nociceptive fibers. It remains unclear to what extent accommodation of non-nociceptive fibers during slowly rising electrical pulses can be utilized to reverse this activation order. The aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of different pulse forms to activate nociceptive fibers with minimal co-activation of non-nociceptive fibers by comparing subjective perception thresholds (PT).

Methods

Electrical pulses were applied on the volar forearm of 25 subjects with (1) small diameter pin electrodes providing high current density in the skin epidermis, where primarily nociceptive fibers terminate and (2) standard patch electrodes (2.63 cm2). PTs were obtained for exponential current increase, linear current increase, increasing form of exponential current decay (ED), and standard rectangular current pulses. All pulse forms were tested at two relatively long durations (5 and 50 ms). The PT ratio between patch- and pin electrode was calculated as an estimate of the ability of a pulse form to preferentially activate nociceptive fibers. The short form McGill pain questionnaire (SF-MPQ) was used to assess perceived quality of pain for all pulse forms.

Results

For the pin electrode, PT tended to decrease with increasing pulse area. Patch electrode PT tended to increase for increasing pulse area for non-rectangular 50 ms pulses, in contrast to 5 ms pulses, indicating accommodation of non-nociceptive fibers. Largest PT ratio was obtained for the 50 ms ED. SF-MPQ scores were higher for the pin- compared to the patch electrode. Pin electrode pain qualities were mainly described as stabbing and sharp. SF-MPQ scores did not differ between pulse forms.

Conclusions

Long duration ED pulses seem to activate nociceptive fibers better than regular, short duration pulses; most likely reflecting accommodation of non-nociceptive fibers.

About the article

Published Online: 2017-07-01

Published in Print: 2017-07-01


Citation Information: Scandinavian Journal of Pain, Volume 16, Issue 1, Pages 175–175, ISSN (Online) 1877-8879, ISSN (Print) 1877-8860, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sjpain.2017.04.032.

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[2]
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