Conditioned pain modulation among young, healthy, and physically active African American and non-Hispanic White adults.

Journal of psychosomatic research

PubMedID: 28554374

Umeda M, Griffin C, Cross A, Heredia C, Okifuji A. Conditioned pain modulation among young, healthy, and physically active African American and non-Hispanic White adults. J Psychosom Res. 2017;9864-70.
OBJECTIVE
Research shows that African American (AA) adults experience more severe and frequent pain compared to non-Hispanic White (NHW) adults. Additionally, experimental studies demonstrate that AA adults exhibit less efficient central pain inhibition compared to NHW adults, which may partially explain the racial/ethnic disparities in pain. Evidence suggests that regular physical activity (PA) may help improve central pain inhibition, but research shows that AA adults engage in less PA, and are less likely to meet PA guidelines for health promotion compared to NHW adults. These observations suggest that PA levels may help better understand the racial/ethnic difference in central pain inhibition. Therefore, this study compared central pain inhibition and PA levels among AA and NHW adults.

METHODS
Young and healthy participants were recruited on campus, and 27 AA and 27 NHW adults completed this study. Central pain inhibitory processing was assessed using conditioned pain modulation (CPM), where changes in electrical pain ratings were quantified during and after exposure to pressure pain compared to baseline. PA levels were assessed using self-report questionnaires and accelerometer.

RESULTS
The participants were generally physically active, and most participants in both groups met the public recommendation of PA for health promotion. Electrical pain ratings were significantly reduced during and after exposure to pressure pain compared to baseline. There was no racial/ethnic difference in a magnitude of changes in electrical pain ratings.

CONCLUSION
Young, healthy, and physically active AA and NHW adults exhibit similar CPM responses. Regular PA may help attenuate the racial/ethnic difference in CPM responses.