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Pain Management

Catastrophizing and Pain

When pain post SCI is refractory to pharmacological and surgical treatment, it is important to fully understand the negative impact of the patient’s psychosocial environment prior to undertaking more invasive approaches to treatment.

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Giardino et al. 2003


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Population: Age=21-64 yr; Gender: males=60, females=13.

Intervention: Questionnaire.

Outcome Measures: Coping Strategies Questionnaire (CSQ), Short form McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ), West Haven-Yale Multidimensional Pain Inventory (WHYMPI) solicitous subscale and CES-D scale.

1.     CSQ catastrophizing was associated with WHYMPI (p<0.05), CES-D (p<0.001), SF-MPQ (sensory pain) (p<0.01) and CSQ SF-MPQ (affective pain) (p<0.001).

2.     Catastrophizing also accounted for significant variance in sensory pain scores (t=2.63, p<0.05). An interaction between relationship type and catastrophizing was also found (p<0.05).

3.     A significant relationship was noted between affective pain score and solicitousness (p<0.05) and catastrophizing and solicitousness (p<0.05).

4.     Catastrophizing itself accounted for a significant amount of variance in affective pain scores (p<0.01).

Giardino et al. (2003) noted that pain-related catastrophizing, or exaggerating the negative consequences of a situation, has been associated with greater pain intensity, emotional distress and functional disability in patients with chronic pain conditions and SCI. This was thought to provide partial support for a “communal coping” model of catastrophizing, where catastrophizing in persons with pain may function as a social communication directed toward obtaining social proximity, support or assistance.

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