7 Oct 2008
Chronic pain is notoriously difficult to treat. Although there are no cures, a combination of psychological and physical therapies appears to provide significant benefits.
During their lifetime most of the population will experience an episode of back pain that troubles them sufficiently to affect the way they live and seek some form of medical help. Anybody who has suffered from such a problem, or cared for someone who has, will know just how acutely painful a ‘bad back’ can be, with no doubting that in the grips of an episode the sufferer can do little save reach for the bottle of tablets and cry for help.
How extraordinary, then, that the factors that predict the development of chronic pain following an acute episode do not relate to any ‘biological’ factors such as findings on physical examination, or change on x-ray, but to what are termed ‘psychosocial variables’, such as mood, stress (as noted by depression scores and anxiety levels) and the social situation in which the pain occurs. More…