Influence of surface anesthesia on the pressure pain threshold measured with different-sized probes

Ken Takahashi, Toru Taguchi, Kazunori Itoh, Kaoru Okada, Kenji Kawakita, Kazue Mizumura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Transcutaneous pressure with pressure probes of arbitrary diameters have been commonly used for measuring the threshold and magnitude of muscle pain, yet this procedure lacks scientific validation. To examine the valid probe dimensions, we conducted physiological experiments using 34 human subjects. Pin-prick pain, pressure pain threshold (PPT) to pressure probes of various diameters, heat pain threshold, and electrical pain threshold of deep tissues were measured before and after application of surface lidocaine anesthesia to the skin surface over the brachioradial muscle in a double-blinded manner. The anesthesia neither affected PPT with larger probes (diameters: 1.6 and 15 mm) nor increased electric pain threshold of deep structures, whereas it diminished pain count in pin-prick test and PPT with a 1.0 mm diameter probe, suggesting that mechanical pain thresholds measured with 1.6 and 15 mm probes reflect the pain threshold of deep tissues, possibly muscle. Pain thresholds to heat did not change after application of the anesthesia. These results suggest that larger pressure probes can give a better estimation of muscular pain threshold.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-305
Number of pages7
JournalSomatosensory and Motor Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cutaneous pain
  • Mechanical pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Pressure pain test
  • Transcutaneous pressure
  • Transdermal lidocaine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems


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