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J Fam Pract. 1991 Feb;32(2):193-9.

Chronic pain in primary care. Identification and management of psychosocial factors.

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University of Washington Multidisciplinary Pain Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Seattle 98195.


Chronic pain is a problem of great public health importance that is frequently seen in the primary care setting. Pain chronicity shows a strong association with psychosocial factors. Assessment of these factors should be composed of two parts: (1) psychological factors and (2) psychiatric illness. Psychological factors include all those pain-associated alterations in the patient's environment that reinforce illness behavior. Psychiatric illness includes those syndromes that retard recovery from illness or injury, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and dementia. Psychiatric and psychological interventions can be successfully introduced in the context of a comprehensive rehabilitation effort. Usually these interventions can be accomplished by the family physician in concert with a consultant psychiatrist or psychologist. In severely disabled or resistant patients, referral to a multidisciplinary pain clinic will be necessary.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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