AIMS: To determine whether glutamate-evoked jaw muscle pain is altered by the temperature of the solution injected.
METHODS: Sixteen healthy volunteers participated and received injections of hot (48°C), neutral (36°C), or cold (3°C) solutions (0.5 mL) of glutamate or isotonic saline into the masseter muscle. Pain intensity was assessed with an electronic visual analog scale (eVAS). Numeric rating scale (NRS) scores of unpleasantness and temperature perception, pain-drawing areas, and pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) were also measured. Participants filled out the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ). Two-way or three-way repeated measures ANOVA were used for data analyses.
RESULTS: Injection of hot glutamate and cold glutamate solutions significantly increased and decreased, respectively, the peak pain intensity compared with injection of neutral glutamate solution. The duration of glutamate-evoked pain was significantly longer when hot glutamate was injected than when cold glutamate was injected. No significant effect of temperature on pain intensity was observed when isotonic saline was injected. No effect of solution temperature was detected on unpleasantness, heat perception, cold perception, area of pain drawings, or PPTs. There was a significantly greater use of the "numb" term in the MPQ to describe the injection of cold solutions compared to the injection of both neutral and hot solutions.
CONCLUSION: Glutamate-evoked jaw muscle pain was significantly altered by the temperature of the injection solution. Although temperature perception in the jaw muscle is poor, pain intensity is increased when the muscle tissue temperature is elevated.
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