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Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2010 Apr;6(4):210-6. doi: 10.1038/nrrheum.2010.22.

Psychological approaches to understanding and treating arthritis pain.

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  • 1Pain Prevention and Treatment Research Program, Duke University Medical Center, Box 90399, Durham, NC 27708, USA.


Arthritis pain has traditionally been evaluated from a biomedical perspective, but there is increasing evidence that psychological factors have an important role in patients' adjustment to arthritis pain. The evolution of pain theories has led to the development of models, such as the cognitive-behavioral model, which recognize the potential involvement of psychological factors in pain. Emotional, cognitive, behavioral and social context variables are useful in understanding pain in patients with arthritis, and have led to the development of psychological approaches for treating arthritis pain. These include pain coping skills training, interventions that include patients' partners, and emotional disclosure strategies.

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