Objectives Musculoskeletal (MSK) pain is a common complaint in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). MSK pain in IBD has previously demonstrated association with symptoms of central sensitization; however it is uncertain whether these symptoms are influenced simply by the presence of MSK pain and/or IBD. Primary aim of this study was to investigate whether symptoms of central sensitization differed across three groups: IBD patients with and without MSK pain and healthy controls. Secondary aim was to investigate between-group differences for measures of somatosensory functioning. Methods Cross-sectional study was performed on adults with IBD. Assessments included: central sensitization inventory (CSI), pressure pain threshold, temporal summation, conditioned pain modulation, perceived stress, affect style, anxiety, depression, and pain catastrophizing. One-way analyses of variance and covariance were used to investigate between-group differences for measures of central sensitization and potential confounding by psychological factors. Results Study participants (n=66) were age/gender matched across three study groups. Between-group differences were solely demonstrated for CSI scores [F(2,63)=19.835, p<0.001, r=0.62], with IBD patients with MSK pain demonstrating the highest CSI scores and healthy controls the lowest. After controlling for individual psychological features, post hoc comparisons indicated that CSI scores were significantly different between-groups (p≤0.025) after controlling for most psychological variables, with the exception of perceived stress (p=0.063) and pain catastrophizing (p=0.593). Conclusions IBD patients as a whole demonstrated significantly greater symptoms of central sensitization compared to healthy controls. However, IBD patients with persistent MSK pain demonstrated the greatest symptoms of central sensitization compared to patients without MSK pain and healthy controls. Between-group differences for CSI in IBD patients with MSK were not confounded by psychological features. Implications Study results indicate that persistent MSK pain in IBD represents patients with greater central sensitization symptomology. This increased symptomology is suggestive of underlying mechanisms related to central sensitization, highlighting patient potentially at risk for worse pain experiences.

References

PubMed