Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Pain Research and Management
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 7892494, 10 pages
Research Article

Effects of a Pain Catastrophizing Induction on Sensory Testing in Women with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Pilot Study

Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Laboratory, Stanford University School of Medicine, 1070 Arastradero, Suite 200, MC 5596, Palo Alto, CA 94304-1336, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Chloe J. Taub; ude.imaim@78tjc

Received 2 December 2016; Accepted 1 February 2017; Published 28 February 2017

Academic Editor: Fletcher A. White

Copyright © 2017 Chloe J. Taub et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Pain catastrophizing, a pattern of negative cognitive-emotional responses to actual or anticipated pain, maintains chronic pain and undermines response to treatments. Currently, precisely how pain catastrophizing influences pain processing is not well understood. In experimental settings, pain catastrophizing has been associated with amplified pain processing. This study sought to clarify pain processing mechanisms via experimental induction of pain catastrophizing. Forty women with chronic low back pain were assigned in blocks to an experimental condition, either a psychologist-led 10-minute pain catastrophizing induction or a control (10-minute rest period). All participants underwent a baseline round of several quantitative sensory testing (QST) tasks, followed by the pain catastrophizing induction or the rest period, and then a second round of the same QST tasks. The catastrophizing induction appeared to increase state pain catastrophizing levels. Changes in QST pain were detected for two of the QST tasks administered, weighted pin pain and mechanical allodynia. Although there is a need to replicate our preliminary results with a larger sample, study findings suggest a potential relationship between induced pain catastrophizing and central sensitization of pain. Clarification of the mechanisms through which catastrophizing affects pain modulatory systems may yield useful clinical insights into the treatment of chronic pain.