Current Pain and Headache Reports

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 199–206

Quantitative Sensory Testing of Neuropathic Pain Patients: Potential Mechanistic and Therapeutic Implications

  • Doreen B. Pfau
  • Christian Geber
  • Frank Birklein
  • Rolf-Detlef Treede
Neuropathic Pain (R Raja, Section editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s11916-012-0261-3

Cite this article as:
Pfau, D.B., Geber, C., Birklein, F. et al. Curr Pain Headache Rep (2012) 16: 199. doi:10.1007/s11916-012-0261-3

Abstract

Quantitative sensory testing (QST) is a widely accepted tool to investigate somatosensory changes in pain patients. Many different protocols have been developed in clinical pain research within recent years. In this review, we provide an overview of QST and tested neuroanatomical pathways, including peripheral and central structures. Based on research studies using animal and human surrogate models of neuropathic pain, possible underlying mechanisms of chronic pain are discussed. Clinically, QST may be useful for 1) the identification of subgroups of patients with different underlying pain mechanisms; 2) prediction of therapeutic outcomes; and 3) quantification of therapeutic interventions in pain therapy. Combined with sensory mapping, QST may provide useful information on the site of neural damage and on mechanisms of positive and negative somatosensory abnormalities. The use of QST in individual patients for diagnostic purposes leading to individualized therapy is an interesting concept, but needs further validation.

Keywords

QST Quantitative sensory testing Neuropathic pain Pathophysiological mechanisms Sensory signs Gain of function Loss of function Pharmacotherapy Nerve fiber Detection threshold Pain threshold Clinical neurological examination Neuroanatomical pathways Translational research Mechanism-based therapy 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Doreen B. Pfau
    • 1
  • Christian Geber
    • 2
  • Frank Birklein
    • 2
  • Rolf-Detlef Treede
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurophysiology, Center for Biomedicine and Medical Technology MannheimMedical Faculty Mannheim, Ruprecht-Karls-University HeidelbergMannheimGermany
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyUniversity Medical Center Johannes Gutenberg-University MainzMainzGermany

Personalised recommendations