Coping with chronic pain: Current advances and practical information for clinicians

Transferring knowledge and evidence from the pain psychology literature to all types of practitioners is one small but important step towards reducing the economic and personal cost of injuries. Through early identi?cation of at-risk clients, it may be possible to prevent chronic pain from developing. Pain is a perception which is affected by physical, psychological and social factors, yet many health care professionals are only beginning to consider the relative contributions of each of these elements. It is essential that clinicians understanding how a client's pain coping strategies impact progress and functional outcomes. For clients endorsing maladaptive methods of coping, one step is to refer the client to a psychologist; however, understanding of key underlying principles can also inform any type of treatment. All care providers involved with the client should discourage maladaptive strategies where appropriate and encouraging adaptive ones. Of equal importance is knowing whether or not the client is ready to adapt to change. Clinician knowledge of coping strategies and readiness may also help reduce the likelihood of clients withdrawing from treatment in frustration. The end result will hopefully be less disability and improved functioning of clients experiencing chronic pain.


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