Effect of sustained experimental muscle pain on joint position sense

Simon J. Summers, Siobhan M. Schabrun, Rogerio P. Hirata, Thomas Graven-Nielsen, Rocco Cavaleri, Lucy S. Chipchase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction:Joint position sense (JPS) is impaired in clinical musculoskeletal pain conditions, but when this impairment develops in the transition from initial to prolonged pain is not known.Objectives:This study assessed whether progressively developing sustained experimentally induced muscle pain impacts JPS in healthy individuals.Methods:Twenty-eight healthy individuals received injection of nerve growth factor (NGF) into the right extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle on days 0 and 2 to induce sustained pain and hyperalgesia. Wrist JPS was assessed 2 days before day 0 (day -2), before the injection on days 0 and 2, and on days 4 and 14. Joint position sense was quantified as the ability to return the wrist to a neutral position following movements in the direction of radial and ulnar deviation. A 3-dimensional motion analysis system was used to calculate absolute, relative, and joint-angle repositioning errors. Numerical rating scale scores of pain intensity, body chart pain drawings, and pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) were recorded on each day.Results:Compared with baseline, pressure pain thresholds decreased while pain intensity and area increased at day 2 (P < 0.001) and day 4 (P < 0.001) before returning to baseline on day 14 (P > 0.13). Relative to day 0, there was no change in wrist JPS at day 2, 4, and 14 following movements in either target direction (P > 0.05).Conclusion:Despite the presence of sustained muscle pain and hyperalgesia for 4 days at the elbow, no statistical change in wrist joint position error was observed. These findings suggest that pain and hyperalgesia lasting as long as 4 days does not impair JPS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere737
Number of pages8
JournalPain Reports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

his is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-ND) which allows for redistribution, commercial, and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to the author


  • Experimental pain
  • Joint position sense
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Nerve growth factor
  • Proprioception


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