The Interactions Between Muscle Tension and Cold Induced Pain and Their Effects on the Sympathetic Nervous System

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2009-05-01

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DeLukie, Aleigha A.

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Abstract

These studies tested 1) the hypothesis that muscle tension and pain produced at subthreshold intensities for provoking a pressor effect will produce a pressor effect when combined (synergism); and 2) that cold-induced pain applied to the forearm produces a similar pain and pressor effect as cold ice-bath immersion of the hand. Arterial pressure (AP) and perceived pain measurements were obtained in 17 volunteers during 10% static handgrip, 6ºC cold applied to the forearm and the combination of both stimuli. Neither stimulus produced a pressor effect alone (0.08 [less than] p [less than] 0.48), but evoked an increased systolic and mean arterial pressure when combined (p = 0.030 and p [less than] 0.001). An equivalent cold stimulus applied to the forearm produced less pain and pressor effects than hand immersion in ice (p [less than] 0.01, all variables). These findings suggest that combinations of mild muscle tension and pain (such as with somatic dysfunction) can act synergistically to provoke a significant pressor response.

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