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Initial validation of the electronic form of the Michigan Body Map
  1. Afton L Hassett1,
  2. Jennifer Pierce1,
  3. Jenna Goesling1,
  4. Laura Fritsch1,
  5. Rishi R Bakshi2,
  6. David J Kohns2 and
  7. Chad M Brummett1
  1. 1 Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  2. 2 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Afton L Hassett, Anesthesiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48106, USA; afton{at}


Background The Michigan Body Map (MBM) was developed to assess pain location in a reliable and valid manner; however, electronic formats have not been validated. This study had two aims: (1) initial validation of the electronic form of the MBM (eMBM) and (2) preliminary test of assessing pain severity within body zones.

Methods For the first aim, 68 participants with chronic pain completed paper and electronic forms of the MBM, then underwent scripted interviews to assess preferences among body maps and verbal confirmation of pain locations. For the second aim, a subset of the participants (n=40) completed the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) pain severity subscale, as well as the eMBM again and endorsed pain severity using additional screens showing body zones that contained areas in which pain was endorsed.

Results There were few discrepancies between MBM, eMBM and verbal report (1.9% and 1.6%, respectively), and no difference between forms in perceived ability to indicate areas of pain or ease of completion. Patients accurately indicated their bodily pain on both maps, with 84% and 87% reporting one or no errors on MBM and eMBM, respectively. Participants also reported no preference for which version best-depicted areas of pain or best distinguished left from right. Lastly, the most preferred measure was eMBM with pain severity zones, followed by eMBM without zones, followed by the BPI pain severity subscale.

Conclusions These data support the validity of the eMBM for patients with chronic pain. Further, an expanded form of the eMBM that assesses pain severity was preferred by most participants.

  • chronic pain
  • pain measurement
  • chronic pain: central pain syndromes, fibromyalgia

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  • Contributors ALH and CMB: responsible for the overall design, planning and conduct of the study, as well as the interpretation and reporting of the data. JG and JP: assisted with the study design and methodology, as well as the interpretation of the data and preparation of the manuscript for publication. JP: largely responsible for data management, statistical analysis and presentation of data. RRB, DJK and LF: involved in the conduct of the study, data acquisition and the reporting of the results in the current manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests There are a few potential conflicts of interest. AH is a consultant to Precision Health Economics. CB is an MPI on NIH-DHHS P50 AR070600-05 CORT and NIDA R01 DA038261-05.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval University of Michigan IRBMED - HUM00124257.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.