Brigham Research Institute Poster Session Site logo-1
Close this search box.

Lauren Papianou, BS




Research Coordinator




Research Coordinator




Lauren Papianou*, Christine Sieberg, Samantha M. Meints

Childhood trauma associated with increased pain sensitivity in patients with chronic low back pain

It is important to participant in this symposium because I want to further the development of research. As a woman, I find it important to have these goals. I plan to be ambitious with my future and make my career an important aspect of my life. It is very early in my career, I plan to apply to Clinical Psychology Ph.D. programs. I want to continue researching areas of psychology that need further investigation. These areas include pain, the psychosocial areas that influence pain, and the pain differences amongst chronic pain patients to people who do not have chronic pain.

Background: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) affects 1/3 of adults and is associated with considerable costs.  Trauma is a known predictor of the development of chronic pain including CLBP. There is also evidence that people with CLBP are more likely to experience central sensitization which is associated with a greater burden of pain. However, the relationship between trauma and central sensitization remains unclear. The aim of this study was to understand how trauma is related to central sensation among people with CLBP.

Methods: Participants with CLBP (N=45) completed the Childhood Traumatic Events Scale (CTES) and the Recent Traumatic Events Scale (RTES) and a quantitative sensory testing (QST) battery including pressure threshold and tolerance and temporal summation of mechanical pain. Correlations were conducted to assess relationships between CTES/RTES and QST measures. 

Results: Greater childhood trauma was associated with a lower pressure needed to produce 40/100 pain (P40) [ r(43)= -0.48, p<0.05].

Conclusion: Childhood trauma was associated with lower P40 values, an indication of pain sensitivity at a site distal to the patients’ pain (i.e., back). Future research should examine the impact of specific types of trauma on pain sensitization as well as examine additional QST modalities.