Differences in Pain Processing Between Men and Women

Balgrist University Hospital (Other)
Overall Status
CT.gov ID

Study Details

Study Description

Brief Summary

Many chronic pain conditions show clear differences between between men and women, such as reported pain intensities or treatment effects, with chronic pain conditions being generally more frequent in women. Yet, the underlying mechanisms causing these differences are poorly understood. Central sensitization (CS) is considered one important mechanism in pain patients which differs between female and male patients. The central hypothesis is that already in the healthy population CS processes are more pronounced in women than in men.

Condition or Disease Intervention/Treatment Phase
  • Other: Cutaneous thermal stimuli

Study Design

Study Type:
Anticipated Enrollment :
70 participants
Intervention Model:
Single Group Assignment
None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose:
Basic Science
Official Title:
Differences in Sensitization Between Men and Women After Cutaneous Thermal Stimuli
Actual Study Start Date :
May 1, 2021
Anticipated Primary Completion Date :
Apr 30, 2022
Anticipated Study Completion Date :
Dec 31, 2022

Arms and Interventions

Arm Intervention/Treatment
Experimental: Experimental Arm

Other: Cutaneous thermal stimuli
Application of thermal stimuli of different intensities to the skin

Outcome Measures

Primary Outcome Measures

  1. Change in spatial extent of mechanical hypersensitivity after intervention w.r.t. baseline [10-20 minutes before intervention (baseline) and 20-30 minutes after intervention]

    Mapping of hypersensitivity in cm2 of sensitized skin area using two quantitative sensory testing tools (256mN von Frey filament and 200-400mN brush) before and after intervention

  2. Changes to the nociceptive withdrawal reflex (NWR) after intervention w.r.t. baseline [5-10 minutes before intervention (baseline) and 30-35 minutes after intervention]

    Repetitive suprathreshold elicitation of the NWR to monitor its characteristics (such as magnitude and number of responses) before and after intervention

Eligibility Criteria


Ages Eligible for Study:
18 Years to 40 Years
Sexes Eligible for Study:
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:
Inclusion Criteria:
  • good general health

  • able to give informed consent

Exclusion Criteria:
  • pain complaints for more than two consecutive days over the past three months

  • any major medical or psychiatric condition (e.g. heart disease, major depressive disorder)

  • any chronic pain condition

  • inability to follow study instructions

  • consumption of stimulants, drugs, or analgesics within the past 24 hours

  • scar tissue or generally reduced sensitivity in the designated testing site areas

Contacts and Locations


Site City State Country Postal Code
1 Balgrist Campus Zürich Switzerland 8008

Sponsors and Collaborators

  • Balgrist University Hospital


  • Principal Investigator: Petra Schweinhardt, MD, PhD, Department of Chiropractic Medicine, Balgrist University Hospital, University of Zurich

Study Documents (Full-Text)

None provided.

More Information


None provided.
Responsible Party:
Schweinhardt Petra, Head of Research at the Department of Chiropractic Medicine, Balgrist University Hospital
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
Other Study ID Numbers:
  • NWR
First Posted:
Sep 1, 2021
Last Update Posted:
Oct 13, 2021
Last Verified:
Oct 1, 2021
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD:
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product:
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product:
Keywords provided by Schweinhardt Petra, Head of Research at the Department of Chiropractic Medicine, Balgrist University Hospital

Study Results

No Results Posted as of Oct 13, 2021