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Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2003 Apr;7(2):105-15.

Pain: psychiatric aspects of impairment and disability.

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1
Department of Pain Medicine, Presbyterian Orthopedic Hospital, 1901 Randolph Road, Charlotte, NC 28207, USA. geraldaronoffmd@msn.com

Abstract

Patients with chronic pain frequently experience a complex and convoluted journey through the health care system that often is unrewarding for all involved. As job satisfaction and financial security diminish during our economic recession, the impact of the disability epidemic becomes more profound. There often is no direct correlation between objective impairment and a patient's request for disability status. Injured workers maintained on workers' compensation may have an increased risk for developing chronic pain syndromes unresponsive to conventional treatments. These patients may have significant financial, psychosocial, and environmental reinforcement for maintenance of their disability and little incentive to return to work. Excessive pain behavior may lead to unnecessary diagnostic testing or invasive procedures and result in iatrogenic complications and prolonged disability. Patients with chronic pain syndrome who have not had psychosocial treatment may not be at maximum medical improvement. The purpose of this paper is to help the readership identify types of psychiatric, psychologic, and psychosocial issues that can coexist in patients with chronic pain who are applying for disability, and to help treating physicians avoid contributing to iatrogenic pain and disability by performing needless and potentially harmful procedures on patients who may be better served with an emphasis on psychiatric or psychologic care.

PMID:
12628052
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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