Objective: Our aims were 1) to investigate whether perceived pain extent, assessed from the pain drawing, relates to clinical, psychological, and psychophysical outcomes in women with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS); 2) to assess differences in pain extent depending on the presence of median or extramedian symptoms; and 3) to investigate differences in pain extent according to severity (minimal, moderate, or severe) or laterality (unilateral or bilateral) of CTS.
Methods: One hundred forty (N = 140) women with CTS completed pain drawings, which were subsequently digitized, allowing pain extent to be calculated. Clinical features including pain intensity (numerical pain rating scale, 0-10) and disability (Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire), psychological features including depression (Beck Depression Inventory), and psychophysical variables (pressure pain and thermal pain thresholds) were assessed. Spearman rho correlation coefficients were used to reveal the correlations between pain extent and other outcomes. Differences in pain extent according to severity (minimal, moderate, severe) or laterality (unilateral, bilateral) and the presence of extramedian symptoms were also evaluated.
Results: No significant associations were identified between pain extent and clinical, psychological, or psychophysical outcomes. Women with extramedian symptoms (88%) exhibited a larger (P < 0.001) pain extent (total: 24.2% ± 13.5%) than women with median symptoms (12%; total: 12.2% ± 6.9%). Pain extent was not significantly different depending on the severity or laterality of the symptoms.
Conclusions: Pain extent in the upper extremity was not associated with clinical, psychological, or psychophysical variables and was not related to the severity or laterality of the symptoms in women with CTS.