Pain sensitivity

What is pain sensitivity in schizophrenia?

Pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage” and pain is perceived as both a sensory and emotional experience. There is an important distinction between the body’s responses to pain (nociception) and the subjective experience of pain. Measured outcomes of pain perception include pain reactivity, sensory threshold, pain threshold, and pain tolerance, as well as self-reporting of the pain experience.

What is the evidence for pain sensitivity?

Moderate to high quality evidence suggests schizophrenia is associated with a significantly reduced pain response following nociceptive stimuli in several modalities that is unrelated to outcome measure, modality, medication status, or disease state. Physiological responses to nociceptive stimuli were also altered, however there were no differences in rates of clinically relevant pain. Moderate quality evidence finds the prevalence of clinically relevant pain in patients with schizophrenia is around 35% and clinically relevant headache is around 30%.

February 2022

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Last updated at: 5:01 pm, 15th February 2022
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