The effects of pain and a secondary task on postural sway during standing

Rogerio Pessoto Hirata*, Mikkel Jacobi Thomsen, Frederik Greve Larsen, Nicolai Støttrup, Marcos Duarte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background Pain impairs available cognitive resources and somatosensory information, but its effects on postural control during standing are inconclusive. The aim of this study was to investigate whether postural sway is affected by the presence of pain and a secondary task during standing. Methods Sixteen healthy subjects stood as quiet as possible at a tandem stance for 30s on a force platform at different conditions regarding the presence of pain and a secondary task. Subjects received painful stimulations on the right upper arm or lower leg according to a relative pain threshold [pain 7 out 10 on a Visual Analog Scale (VAS) - 0 representing “no pain” and 10 “worst pain imaginable”] using a computer pressurized cuff. The secondary task consisted of pointing to a target using a head-mounted laser-pointer as visual feedback. Center of Pressure (COP) sway area, velocity, mean frequency and sample entropy were calculated from force platform measures. Findings Compared to no painful condition, pain intensity (leg: VAS = 7; arm VAS = 7.4) increased following cuff pressure conditions (P 
Original languageEnglish
Article number102863
JournalHuman Movement Science
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Experimental pain
  • Cuff algometry
  • Secondary task
  • Postural stability
  • Attention


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