Research: JANSSEN and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 101

Abstract

JANSSEN and co-workers, Section of Clinical and Health Psychology and Department of Psychiatry, University of Leiden, P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB, Leiden, The Netherlands, have investigated the effects of failing pain control.

Background

It is a common problem for chronic pain patients that pain relief repeatedly fails. The hypothesis behind this study was that such an experience could have an exacerbating effect on the impact of pain including emotional and physiological responses to it.

Methodology

Subjects were exposed to electrocutaneous pain stimuli in such a way that some achieved control over the pain and some did not.

Results

Repeated failure to control pain resulted in increased anger and heart rate but not pain intensity.

Conclusion

The authors conclude that persistent efforts to control pain in the face of failure to do so may lead to the maintenance or exacerbation of physiological and emotional responses to pain.

References

Janssen SA, Spinhoven P, Arntz A. The effects of failing to control pain: an experimental investigation. Pain 107 (3): 227-233, Feb 2004.

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