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Title

DISCORDANT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EVALUATION OF FACIAL EXPRESSION AND SUBJECTIVE PAIN RATING DUE TO THE LOW PAIN MAGNITUDE

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 Start Page 43 | End Page 50

Abstract

 Introduction: Facial expression to pain is an important pain indicator; however, facial movements look unresponsive when perceiving mild pain. The present study investigates whether pain magnitude modulates the relationship between subjective pain rating and an observer’s evaluation of facial expression.Methods: Twelve healthy volunteers were recruited to obtain 108 samples for pain rating with Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Subjects underwent three different mechanical painful stimuli (monofilament forces of 100 g, 300 g, and 600 g) over three sessions and their facial expressions were videotaped throughout all sessions. Three observers independently evaluated facial expression of the subjects with a four-point categorical scale (no pain, mild pain, moderate pain, and severe pain). The correlations between subjective pain ratings and the evaluation of facial expression were analyzed in dichotomous group which was low pain ratings (VAS<30), or high pain rating (VAS³30).Results: Subjective pain ratings was significantly correlated with the evaluation of facial expression in high pain ratings, however no correlation was found between them in mild pain ratings. In mild pain ratings, most of the subjects (78%) were rated as no pain by observers, despite the fact that subjects reported pain.Conclusion: The results suggest that the evaluation of facial expression of pain was difficult for the observer to detect pain severity when the subjects feel mild pain.

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