Patient Information Resources

Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I tend to be an overly anxious kind of person. Now I've hurt my back at work. I'm worried that worrying will make my pain worse. I don't want to end up off work on disability with chronic pain like I see other people. How can I avoid this?

Pain that lasts longer than the expected time for the injury is called chronic pain. Some experts say this starts at the end of two months. Others suggest three months as the turning point. Still others use six months as the dividing line between acute/subacute and chronic pain.

There are many theories about chronic pain -- how it happens and why it happens. The answers to these questions still remain a mystery. Personality, temperament, and levels of anxiety and security are part of the mix.

People in pain with strong and secure attachments to others are usually better able to face and deal with their pain. This ability is called pain self-efficacy. People who are insecure and anxious have lower levels of pain self-efficacy. They are more likely to experience pain-related disability.

Knowing there are links between anxiety, levels of pain self-efficacy, and attachment style makes it easier to direct treatment. If you know you are a high-anxious individual, early psychologic and behavioral therapy may be helpful in avoiding chronic pain.

Ask your doctor for a referral to a behavioral psychologist who treats patients with chronic pain. According to the most recent research in this area, you may be able to avoid becoming a chronic pain patient yourself.


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