Toward understanding movement-evoked pain (MEP) and its measurement: A scoping review

Dottington Fullwood, Sydney Means, Ericka N. Merriwether, Ruth L. Chimenti, Simar Ahluwalia, Staja Q. Booker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective:Individuals with chronic pain conditions often report movement as exacerbating pain. An increasing number of researchers and clinicians have recognized the importance of measuring and distinguishing between movement-evoked pain (MEP) and pain at rest as an outcome. This scoping review maps the literature and describes MEP measurement techniques.Materials and Methods:The scoping review utilized 6 databases to identify original studies that targeted pain or movement-related outcomes. Our search returned 7322 articles that were screened by title and abstract by 2 reviewers. The inclusion criteria focused on the measurement of MEP before, during, and after movement tasks in adults with chronic pain. Studies of children below 18 years of age or with nonhuman animals, case studies, qualitative studies, book chapters, cancer-related pain, non-English language, and abstracts with no full publish text were excluded from the study.Results:Results from 38 studies revealed great variation in the measurement of MEP, while almost all of the studies did not provide an explicit conceptual or operational definition for MEP. In addition, studies collectively illuminated differences in MEP compared with rest pain, movement provocation methods, and pain intensity as the primary outcome.Discussion:These results have clinically significant and research implications. To advance the study of MEP, we offer that consistent terminology, standardized measurement (appropriate for pain type/population), and clear methodological processes be provided in research publications. On the basis of the findings, we have put forth a preliminary definition of MEP that may benefit from the continued scholarly dialog.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-78
Number of pages18
JournalClinical Journal of Pain
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Movement-evoked pain
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Nociception
  • Pain
  • Scoping review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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