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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Reproducibility of visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores to mechanical pressure

  • Author(s): Goddard, Greg
  • Karibe, H
  • McNeill, C
  • et al.

This study tested the reproducibility of visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores to measure changes in masseter muscle pain evoked by maximally tolerable mechanical stimulation over a short time period in healthy subjects. This study also evaluated gender differences in reproducibility of VAS scores to mechanical stimulation. Ten healthy female and eight healthy male individuals participated in this study. The recordings of VAS pain scores to an identical mechanical pressure on the masseter muscle were performed at three different sessions (T1, T2, and T3). The subjects rated their pain on a VAS to a maximally tolerable stimulus that was recorded on an algometer at the first session. The algometer pressure reading was recorded for each subject and then used to duplicate the same identical mechanical stimulus at each of the three sessions. This identical pressure was repeated in the same marked spot at six minutes and after 30 minutes. The subjects rated the pain on a VAS to this identical stimulus at each session. There was no significant difference in VAS pain scores of all subjects at T1, T2, and T3. There was no significant difference in reproducibility of VAS pain scores in females compared to males. Intraclass correlation coefficients were 0.811 on the right masseter and 0.844 on the left masseter. VAS pain scores to mechanical stimulation were reproducible over a short time period. Gender did not affect the reproducibility. This previously unreported method of measuring pain to repeated identical mechanical stimulation appears to have potential for both clinical and research application.

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