Pain Catastrophizing

Pain catastrophizing is what affects the pain coping behavior in individuals (1).  Truly, it characterised by feelings of helplessness and active rumination.  In addition, excessive magnification of feelings toward the painful situation. One would think that the amount of pain someone feels coincides with the amount of damage.   It has been done to make them feel pain in the first place. Yet, this is not always the case.

For years researchers have been studying this issue. How people experience pain, including its intensity.  Also, how it impacts their quality of life, is personal and differs for everyone. If we were to inflict the same level of pain on 10 people, ensuring that we deliver it to the same exact spot.  As a result, reactions to it would differ from the group of people. What exactly is it that creates this variation?  Furthermore, it has a lot to do with harmful pain.

Pain catastrophizing is how people cope with the pain they are experiencing. In research published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine.

In their study, the researchers conclude that pain catastrophizing is a specific mindset that has a direct impact on the subject’s behavior.  As well as, functional abilities and their overall quality of life. A person’s individual pain catastrophizing is going to help determine their coping skills.  Also, whether or not they let it have a big impact on their quality of life.

The three main components included in the Pain Catastrophizing Scale, that is widely used for measuring a person’s pain. The three components include continuously thinking about the pain, worrying that something bad may happen.  Together with, a person’s feeling nothing can do to reduce the pain intensity (2).

New research helped to shed some light on what affects one’s pain catastrophizing.

A study published in the September 2017 issue of The Journal of Pain, shared the information researchers found.  They set out if genes and environmental factors play a role in a person’s pain catastrophizing (3). What they found was that genes account for around 40% of the variance in pain catastrophizing. Moreover, also reported that there is a strong link between pain catastrophizing and chronic widespread pain. Thus, no any evidence of an environmental correlation that could be detected.

This is good information for those with chronic pain to be aware of.  As well as, those who may be helping with the management of it. There is room for changing the mindset regarding pain.  But some of the ways they respond to it is pure genetics and not something that can be altered.

Sources:
1. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine. Pain Catastrophizing: An Updated Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573569/

2. Psychiatry Advisor. Causes and treatment of pain catastrophizing. http://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/anxiety/pain-catastrophizing-not-just-psychological/article/412277/

3. The Journal of Pain. Genetic factors explain the association between pain catastrophizing and chronic widespread pain. http://www.jpain.org/article/S1526-5900(17)30574-6/abstract