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Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2006 Apr;10(2):90-4.

Acceptance of chronic pain.

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  • 1Pain Management Unit, Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases & University of Bath, Bath BA1 1RL, UK.


The experience of chronic pain can be associated with significant distress and disability; however, this is not always the case. Although attempts to control or reduce pain can be helpful for many pain sufferers, on some occasions this is not an effective option and a different response is required. This different response can include a flexible mix of control and acceptance. The acceptance part of this mix entails a willingness to have pain, or other uncomfortable private experiences, without taking action to control or eliminate them. At least 15 laboratory and clinical studies make the growing case for the role of acceptance in the functioning of people with chronic pain, and evidence from treatment outcome studies is promising. It appears that acceptance-related processes will at least expand our range of psychologic treatment methods for chronic pain sufferers and, at best, significantly improve them.

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