Multisensory integration in subclinical neck pain
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Subclinical neck pain (SCNP) is recurrent neck pain marked by painful “flare-ups” and minimal to no pain between flare-ups. It is associated with altered proprioception, slower mental rotation response times, and altered sensorimotor integration, leading to the possibility that multisensory integration is also affected. Effective multisensory integration is important for many tasks at home and at work, making it important to know if it is altered in SCNP individuals, and whether any changes persist over time. A pilot study used a temporal order judgement task to see if SCNP affected multisensory integration. This study revealed many technical challenges due to aspects such as timing delays of the equipment used to present the stimuli. In the second experiment, a two-alternative forced-choice discrimination task was used to test for multisensory differences, specifically whether SCNP individuals have altered response times vs healthy controls, and the consistency of results over time. Response times were recorded at baseline and week 4. A two-way mixed ANOVA Indicated that auditory response times improved over time (p = 0.050) with no group differences. The SCNP group was slower at both visual and multisensory tasks (p = 0.046, p = 0.020, respectively), with no change for either group over 4 weeks, suggesting that these two stimuli are stable measures to use in future SCNP studies. multisensory integration, audio, visual, tactile, subclinical neck pain, response time, two-alternative forced-choice discrimination, temporal order judgement.