Measuring the effects of subclinical neck pain on sensorimotor integration using electroencephalography event related potentials and source localization

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Subclinical neck pain (SCNP) is recurrent neck pain that has not yet been treated. This thesis investigated whether acute pain affects motor learning acquisition in SCNP vs. healthy individuals. 10 healthy and 10 SCNP participants underwent stimulation of the right median nerve to generate evoked potentials before and after the application of capsaicin cream to elicit pain followed by motor learning acquisition of a tracing task. Both groups improved in accuracy following motor learning (p<0.001), with greater improvement in the healthy group during retention (p<0.001). Source localization revealed a medial dipole shift of the maximal brain source activity post motor learning in both groups, with greater medial shift in the SCNP group. This shift corresponds to the sensorimotor cortex, and lateral premotor cortex, with the SCNP group also showing potential contribution from the mesial premotor cortex, indicating altered neural responses to pain, and possible compensatory mechanisms to improve sensorimotor integration in an SCNP population.
Sensorimotor integration, Sematosensory evoked potentials (SEPs), Motor learning, Electroencephalography