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The influence of physical and psychosocial factors on accuracy of memory for pain in chronic pain patients.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Pain
0304-3959
Publisher
Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer) - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Publication Date
Volume
37
Issue
3
Pages
289–294
Identifiers
PMID: 2755710
Source
Medline

Abstract

Pain patients' retrospective reports of pain are important to physicians and other health professionals in helping to decide on future treatment plans. Unfortunately patients' memory of pain can be inaccurate and subject to overestimation. This study examined variables which influenced accuracy of remembering pain in 93 chronic pain patients. The patients were initially evaluated by a physician and completed a comprehensive pain questionnaire and an SCL-90. All patients were asked to monitor their pain intensity every hour for 1 week. At the end of this period each patient was asked to estimate their average pain intensity ratings for 4 times during the day for the previous week. These estimations were compared with the actual mean pain ratings. Results showed that most patients tended to overestimate their pain intensity levels. Cervical and low back pain patients were found to be more accurate than headache and abdominal pain patients in remembering their pain. Patients who reported more emotional distress, who had conflicts at home, who were less active and who relied on medication tended to be the most inaccurate in remembering their pain.

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