PROMIS Neuropathic and Nociceptive Pain Quality in Musculoskeletal Pain Presentations

Brett Vaughan, Briony Chase, John Hickey, Mary Tassoulas, Harrison Weston, Kylie Fitzgerald, Michael Fleischmann, Jane Mulcahy, Philip Austin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Musculoskeletal pain is a significant contributor to the global disease burden. Management of musculoskeletal pain where a neuropathic component is present can be challenging. This study evaluated the internal structure of the Patient-Reported Outcome Measures Information System (PROMIS) pain quality scales, explored the prevalence of neuropathic and nociceptive pain, and identified health demographics and behaviors related to musculoskeletal pain presentations. Methods: Patients presenting to the Victoria University Osteopathy Clinic (Melbourne, Vic., Australia) were invited to complete a health demographics and behaviors questionnaire, and the PROMIS Neuropathic (NeuroPQ) and Nociceptive (NociPQ) pain quality scales, before their initial consultation. Descriptive, inferential, and correlation statistics were used to evaluate the PROMIS scales, health demographics, and behaviors. Mokken scale analysis was used to evaluate the internal structure and dimensionality of the NeuroPQ and NociPQ scales. Results: Three hundred eighty-three (N=383) patients completed the measures. Mokken scaling suggested the PROMIS scales demonstrated acceptable internal structure and were unidimensional. Over 22% of patients demonstrated cutoff scores above 50, suggesting a substantive neuropathic pain component to their musculoskeletal presentation. Patients who reported cigarette smoking, not being born in Australia or not speaking English at home, demonstrated higher NeuroPQ scores. Females demonstrated significantly higher NociPQ scores than males. Pain intensity demonstrated small to medium correlations with NeuroPQ and NociPQ scores. Discussion: This study provides support for the use of the NeuroPQ and NociPQ scales in musculoskeletal pain patients. Associations with health demographics and behaviors were identified, and patients typically experienced a combination of neuropathic and nociceptive pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-647
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Journal of Pain
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • item response theory
  • osteopathic medicine
  • patient-reported outcome measure
  • reliability estimation


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