Worry: A Common Problem for Chronic Pain Sufferers

The focus of this study is worry in chronic pain patients. Do they worry the same, more, or less than people who don't have chronic pain? Are chronic pain patients who seek treatment different from those who don't seek treatment? And finally, does the person who worries the most have the greatest pain and disability?

The study consisted of 185 adults with chronic pain. Each one filled out a survey. Questions were asked to measure worry, problem solving, and pain intensity. Patients were also evaluated for depression, disability, and negative (catastrophic) thinking about pain.

When it comes to worry and problem solving the authors say there was no difference between chronic pain patients and others without pain. When compared with people diagnosed with anxiety, the chronic pain group had less anxiety. When compared with people diagnosed with depression, the chronic pain group was more positive. They also had better problem-solving abilities.

The results of this study support the idea that worry is a natural result of chronic pain. Seeing the many problems that could occur and thinking about possible solutions make up a large part of chronic pain patients' worries. This process is normal.

Worry becomes more of a problem when the patient keeps looking for a cure from the pain as the only answer. The authors say this kind of focus can lead to frustration and a negative view of the person’s own ability to solve the problem of chronic pain.

Petra De Vlieger, et al. Worrying About Chronic Pain. An Examination of Worry and Problem Solving in Adults Who Identify as Chronic Pain Sufferers. In Pain. January 2006. Vol. 120. No. 1-2. Pp. 138-144.



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