Exercise-induced pain intensity predicted by pre-exercise fear of pain and pain sensitivity.

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OBJECTIVES: Our primary goals were to determine whether preexisting fear of pain and pain sensitivity contributed to post-exercise pain intensity. METHODS: Delayed-onset muscle pain was induced in the trunk extensors of 60 healthy volunteers using an exercise paradigm. Levels of fear of pain and experimental pain sensitivity were measured before exercise. Pain intensity in the low back was collected at 24 and 48 hours post-exercise. Participants were grouped based on pain intensity. Group membership was used as the dependent variable in separate regression models for 24 and 48 hours. Predictor variables included fear, pain sensitivity, torque lost during the exercise protocol, and demographic variables. RESULTS: The final models predicting whether a participant reported clinically meaningful pain intensity at 24 hours only included baseline fear of pain at each level of pain intensity tested. The final model at 48 hours included average baseline pain sensitivity and the loss of muscle performance during the exercise protocol for 1 level of pain intensity tested (greater than 35 mm of 100 mm). DISCUSSION: Combined, these findings suggest that the initial reports of pain after injury may be more strongly influenced by fear whereas the inflammatory process and pain sensitivity may play a larger role for later pain intensity reports.





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Bishop, Mark D, Maggie E Horn and Steven Z George (2011). Exercise-induced pain intensity predicted by pre-exercise fear of pain and pain sensitivity. Clin J Pain, 27(5). pp. 398–404. 10.1097/AJP.0b013e31820d9bbf Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/12766.

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Maggie Elizabeth Horn

Assistant Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery

Steven Zachary George

Laszlo Ormandy Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. George’s primary interest is research involving biopsychosocial models for the prevention and treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain disorders.  His long term goals are to 1) improve accuracy for predicting who is going to develop chronic pain; and 2) identify non-pharmacological treatment options that limit the development of chronic pain conditions.  Dr. George is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association, United States Association of the Study of Pain, and International Association for the Study of Pain. 

Dr. George’s research projects have been supported by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and Orthopaedic Academy of the American Physical Therapy Association.  Dr. George and his collaborators have authored over 330 peer-reviewed publications in leading medical, orthopaedic surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and pain research journals.  He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for the Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Journal. Dr. George has also been involved with clinical practice guideline development for the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy and the American Psychological Association. 

Dr. George has been recognized with prestigious research awards from the American Physical Therapy Association, American Pain Society, and International Association for the Study of Pain. For example from the American Physical Therapy Association: he was named the  21st John H.P. Maley Lecturer, recognized as a Catherine Worthingham Fellow in 2017, and selected for the Marian Williams Award for Research in Physical Therapy in 2022.    

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