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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What is pain catastrophizing? I saw the term on a poster in a pain clinic.

Pain catastrophizing refers to a negative view of the pain experience. It is exaggerated or blown out of proportion. Sometimes it refers to a patient who actually has pain already. In other cases the person isn't even in pain yet -- he or she is still just anticipating it might happen.

The staff at a chronic pain clinic are trained to test for and recognize the signs of pain catastrophizing. Studies show that without intervention these behaviors can lead to chronic pain and disability over time.

Catastrophizing or expecting the worst to happen increases pain. Catastrophizing boosts anxiety and worry. These negative emotions stimulate neural systems that produce increased sensitivity to pain. It can become a vicious cycle.


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