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The impact of gender of the examiner on orofacial pain perception and pain reporting among healthy volunteers
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Odontology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2920-6654
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Odontology. Department of Orofacial Pain and Jaw Function, Faculty of Odontology, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Section of Physiotherapy.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3334-1376
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Odontology.
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2022 (English)In: Clinical Oral Investigations, ISSN 1432-6981, E-ISSN 1436-3771, Vol. 26, p. 3033-3040Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives: Pain on palpation of jaw muscles is a commonly used diagnostic criterion when examining patients with orofacial pain. It is not known, however, if pain reports are affected by the gender of the examiner. Our aim was to investigate if pressure pain threshold (PPT), pressure pain tolerance (PTol), and pain intensity assessed over the masseter muscles in healthy individuals are affected by the gender of the examiner.

Materials and methods: Healthy, pain-free individuals were recruited on a voluntary basis. PPT and PTol were assessed using pressure algometry. At the PTol level, participants also rated pain intensity on a 0–10 numeric rating scale. Assessments of PPT and PTol were conducted with six repeated measurements performed twice, separately by one female and one male examiner, on each participant.

Results: In total, 84 participants (43 women; median age 24, IQR 6) were included. With a female examiner, women reported higher pain intensity than men (Mann Whitney U, p = 0.005). In the multivariable analysis, significantly higher PTol was predicted by male examiner. Also, a higher ratio between PTol and reported pain intensity was predicted by male examiner.

Conclusions: The gender of the examiner influences pain reporting and perception in an experimental setting. This effect on pain perception related to gender of the examiner is probably related to normative gender behaviors rather than to biological alterations within the examined individual.

Clinical relevance: In clinical and experimental settings, gender of the examiner may affect not only pain perception but also pain reporting, with potential implications for diagnostics in patients with pain.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2022. Vol. 26, p. 3033-3040
Keywords [en]
Experimental pain, Gender roles, Orofacial pain, Pain perception, Pain reporting, Pressure pain
National Category
Dentistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-190826DOI: 10.1007/s00784-021-04286-9ISI: 000729669700001PubMedID: 34902057Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85121140336OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-190826DiVA, id: diva2:1623409
Available from: 2021-12-29 Created: 2021-12-29 Last updated: 2022-11-29Bibliographically approved

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Lövgren, AnnaHäggman-Henrikson, BirgittaFjellman-Wiklund, AnncristineBegic, ArnelaLandgren, HenrikLundén, VictorÖsterlund, Catharina

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Lövgren, AnnaHäggman-Henrikson, BirgittaFjellman-Wiklund, AnncristineBegic, ArnelaLandgren, HenrikLundén, VictorÖsterlund, Catharina
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Department of OdontologySection of Physiotherapy
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Clinical Oral Investigations
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