Pain-Related Suppression of Beta Oscillations Facilitates Voluntary Movement
Increased beta oscillations over sensorimotor cortex are antikinetic. Motor- and pain-related processes separately suppress beta oscillations over sensorimotor cortex leading to the prediction that ongoing pain should facilitate movement. In the current study, we used a paradigm in which voluntary movements were executed during an ongoing pain-eliciting stimulus to test the hypothesis that a pain-related suppression of beta oscillations would facilitate the initiation of a subsequent voluntary movement. Using kinematic measures, electromyography, and high-density electroencephalography, we demonstrate that ongoing pain leads to shorter reaction times without affecting the kinematics or accuracy of movement. Reaction time was positively correlated with beta power prior to movement in contralateral premotor areas. Our findings corroborate the view that beta-band oscillations are antikinetic and provide new evidence that pain primes the motor system for action. Our observations provide the first evidence that a pain-related suppression of beta oscillations over contralateral premotor areas leads to shorter reaction times for voluntary movement.