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Setting up your QST lab

What to take into consideration while setting your QST lab?

When planning to set up a QST lab, it is important to take into account several considerations in terms of the space you have at your disposal, the type of tests you will be doing and the research objectives you would like to accomplish.

The patient group and their neurological or pain mechanism could also serve as an indication of the types of tests you may be interested in performing:

For instance, a QST lab that is oriented toward neurology would probably be interested in testing the functionality of different nerve fibers and would be well-served by using thermal testing for the small nerve fibers and vibration testing for the large nerve fibers.

On the other hand, a QST lab that is oriented toward pain research, be it mechanistic/physiological research or interventional studies, could benefit from using different types of stimuli, from thermal or pressure pain thresholds, to supra-threshold pain stimuli, or even a combination of stimuli - for instance in order to test conditioned pain modulation.

Contact Heat Evoked potentials (CHEPs) technique can contribute to both  neurology and pain research, serving as a tool for objective assessment of sensory and pain pathways.  

Psychology researchers may also be interested in setting up a QST lab in order to introduce noxious and non-noxious sensory stimuli, often combined with tasks or visual/auditory/verbal stimulations. Combining these different aspects into your paradigm can be streamlined using for instance, external control.

If you would like to consult one of our specialists, please contact us.

QST test

Medoc has the following equipment available to be used in a QST lab:

Thermal devices (like TSA2, TSA2 Air and Q-Sense), to be used for thermal thresholds testing: cold detection thresholds, warm detection threshold, cold pain threshold, heat pain threshold, cold pain tolerance and heat pain tolerance. These devices can also be utilized in order to implement advanced thermal testing like temporal summation, conditioned pain modulation and offset analgesia, as well as to apply tonic or phasic noxious or non-noxious cold and heat. On top of that, those testing in the MRI scanner would enjoy the TSA2 which offers portability as well as the possibility to be used in the scanner, as well as in the QST lab.

The selection of the most suitable thermal testing device for your QST lab depends on the required protocols, the need to utilize advanced techniques such as CHEPS or Dual-thermode CPM, the body area to be tested, the space you have available in the lab, and other requirements.

Learn more on thermal testing and other subjects through our webinars.

For those interested in vibration detection or perception threshold, Medoc offers the new VSA-2. An advanced vibrational device that allows testing in different frequencies on any body site, thanks to its hand-held design and portability.

Pressure pain threshold and tolerance for deep somatic pain can be tested using Medoc’s AlgoMed, digital pressure algometer. This device enables you to have the highest accurancy and repeatability thanks to the visual feedback through its computer interface. PPT is often used in pain research, mechanistic evaluation of orthopedic issues, and as a test stimulus for the CPM protocol.

QST test & report

What to keep in mind when setting up the room for your QST lab?

Make sure that there is either a comfotable (recliner) chair or sofa for the patient and/or, depending on the bodysites you usually test or the type of testing you are interested in, a treatment bed.

Keep in mind that you would need a little table, preferably rollable, for your thermal device and its computer. Spacewise, keep in mind that if you have additional devices, these would also need to be put in the room without cramping the patient. And of course, you, the operator would also need a chair top sit on during the session.


Having the room airconditioned will help you standardize the room temperature during the testing for the comfort of the patient and the repeatability of the results.  Most thermal devices are designed to operate in a room between 18-24°C (65-75°F).

Learn more about QST technique here.

If you would like to consult one of our specialists, please contact us.

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