Ann Rehabil Med.  2014 Oct;38(5):665-672. 10.5535/arm.2014.38.5.665.

Correlations Between Electrically Quantified Pain Degree, Subjectively Assessed Visual Analogue Scale, and the McGill Pain Questionnaire: A Pilot Study

  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


To evaluate the clinical utility of the electrically calculated quantitative pain degree (QPD) and to correlate it with subjective assessments of pain degree including a visual analogue scale (VAS) and the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ).
We recruited 25 patients with low back pain. Of them, 21 patients suffered from low back pain for more than 3 months. The QPD was calculated using the PainVision (PV, PS-2100; Nipro Co., Osaka, Japan). We applied electrodes to the medial forearm of the subjects and the electrical stimulus was amplified sequentially. Minimum perceived current (MPC) and pain equivalent current (PEC) were defined as minimum electrical stimulation that could be sensed by the subject and electrical stimulation that could trigger actual pain itself. To eliminate individual differences, we defined QPD as the following: QPD=PEC-MPC/MPC. We scored pre-treatment QPD three times at admission and post-treatment QPD once at discharge. The VAS, MPQ, and QPD were evaluated and correlations between the scales were analyzed.
Result showed significant test-retest reliability (ICC=0.967, p<0.001) and the correlation between QDP and MPQ was significant (at admission SRCC=0.619 and p=0.001; at discharge SRCC=0.628, p=0.001). However, the correlation between QPD and VAS was not significant (at admission SRCC=0.240, p=0.248; at discharge SRCC=0.289, p=0.161).
Numerical values measured with PV showed consistent results with repeated calculations. Electrically measured QPD showed an excellent correlation with MPQ but not with VAS. These results demonstrate that PV is a significantly reliable device for quantifying the intensity of low back pain.


Low back pain; Pain measurement; Pain threshold

MeSH Terms

Electric Stimulation
Low Back Pain
Pain Measurement*
Pain Threshold
Pilot Projects*
Weights and Measures
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