Intensity of Central Pain: Analysis of Pain Scores in 18 Patients

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The aim of this clinical study was to investigate the intensity of central pain in 18 patients. Each patient systematically recorded their own pain scores a total of 700 times (ie, 7 times/day for 100 consecutive days) using a standard four-point scale. In all 18 patients, the intensity of pain varied considerably (ranging in grade from no pain, mild pain, moderate pain to severe pain). During the 100 days, the average number of times (percentage of total) that each grade of pain intensity was scored was: no pain 7.4 (1.1%); mild pain 570.9 (81.6%); moderate pain 93.4 (13.3%), and severe pain 28.3 (4%). The difference between mild pain and moderate, severe, or no pain was significant. Thus, in our patient group the intensity of central pain was mostly mild, not severe. In contrast to other reports, our data suggest that to state that the intensity of central pain continues to be intolerable and severe throughout the day is an exaggeration. Among our 18 patients, an exacerbation of pain intensity was observed 507 times. Of these 507 events, 392 (77.3%) were due to specifiable factors and 115 (22.7%) were due to unknown factors. The specifiable factors could be attributed to: emotional factors 261 times (66.6%), somatic stimuli 44 times (11.2%), weather 38 times (9.7%), fatigue 29 times (7.4%), visceral activity 20 times (5.1%). Since there is no universally effective treatment for central pain, the strategy to manage central pain should primarily focus (if possible) on prevention of the exacerbating factors of central pain.

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