Catastrophizing, Depression & Pain!

Reference: Linton SJ, et al The role of depression and catastrophizing in musculoskeletal pain. European Journal of Pain. 2011; 15(4):416-422.

Every clinician practicing in a chronic pain setting recognizes that some patients with persistent musculoskeletal pain also suffer from depressed mood and/or catastrophizing. The question always is, “The chicken or the egg?”

This study questioned if depressed mood or catastrophizing contributed more to poor outcomes.

They combined two clinical samples of patients with sub-acute musculoskeletal pain (one from Sweden, and one from Australia).

Result: Having either depression or catastrophization was associated with similar poorer outcomes, while having both increased the risks substantially.

Clinical Relevance: The authors suggest that clinicians ideally should assess both depressive mood and catastrophization in order to provide early management strategies and potentially improve patients’ recovery rates from musculoskeletal pain.

Personal Comment:Based on this 2011 and many many other papers, I strongly recommend that you give a copy of “The Pain Truth” booklet / workbook ($7) to the patients you identify as ‘high risk’. The primary aim of the booklet is to reduce catastrophization and teach patients the facts about pain.

Posted on: July 05, 2011

Categories: Fascinating Pain Studies

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.