Pain Catastrophization

Reference:1. Sullivan MJ et al . Catastrophizing and perceived injustice: risk factors for the transition to chronicity after whiplash injury. Spine 2011;36(25 Suppl):S244-249.
2. Quartana PJ, et al Pain catastrophizing: a critical review. Expert review of neurotherapeutics 2009;9(5):745-758.

There are now over 1000 published studies that have demonstrated the association between pain catastrophizing and increased pain severity, longer lasting disability, greater psychological distress, and even slower recovery from surgery.

In fact, pain catastrophizing is now considered to be the strongest predictor of problematic pain outcomes.

So is pain catastrophizing just caused by our way of thinking? Can it just easily be reversed by changing our thought patterns?

Some studies have revealed on brain imaging that those who catastrophize about their pain show a pattern of brain activation different from non-catastrophizers.

It is also hypothesized that catastrophizing may actually increase pro-inflammatory responses to noxious stimulation. In other words, what is now being researched is how our thoughts can contribute to inflammation plus the augmentation and spread of pain.

Clinical application: The best way to maximize placebo is to prevent catastrophization in the first place. Prevent them from becoming a VOMIT (Victim of Medical Imaging Technology).

If you wish, I can gladly send you the jpg versions of the poster in French, Italian, German or Norwegian. If you are able to translate it into any other language, please be kind and let me know!

Posted on: July 03, 2015


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