Psychosocial Factors Play Critical Roles in Chronic Pain

Psychosocial factors play a big part in ongoing chronic pain, though you don’t have that many doctors asking patients about these things. Working with people in pain for over 20 years, you hear all sorts of stories and histories. Asking the right questions and looking at the whole person and their life history is so important.  I included a review study here from the Journal of Pain (2016) which looked at the role of psychosocial factors in persistent pain. The highlights (from the authors words) are below.


Psychosocial factors play critical roles in the development and maintenance of chronic pain.

“Negative” psychosocial factors such as childhood trauma are risk factors for poor pain outcomes.

“Positive” variables such as self-efficacy are important resiliency factors.

Psychosocial processes influence long-term pain outcomes via multiple bio-behavioral pathways.