Content » Vol 39, Issue 3

Original report

Generalized pain is associated with more negative consequences than local or regional pain: A study of chronic whiplash-associated disorders

Michael Peolsson, Björn Börsbo and Björn Gerdle
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0052


Objective: The main aims of this study were: (i) to determine, for chronic whiplash-associated disorders, whether widespread pain has more severe consequences for other symptoms and different aspects of perceived health than does local/regional pain; (ii) to investigate whether pain, depression, and symptoms not directly related to pain are intercorrelated and to what extent these symptoms correlate with catastrophizing according to the Coping Strategy Questionnaire.
Design: Descriptive cross-sectional study.
Patients: A total of 275 consecutive chronic pain patients with whiplash-associated disorders who were referred to a university hospital.
Methods: Background history, Beck Depression Inventory, Coping Strategy Questionnaire, Life Satisfaction Checklist, the SF-36 Health Survey and EuroQol were used to collect data.
Results: Spreading of pain was associated with negative consequences with respect to pain intensity and prevalence of other symptoms, life satisfaction/quality and general health. The subjects differ with respect to the presence of symptoms not directly related to pain. A minor part of the variation in Back Depression Inventory was explained by direct aspects of pain, indicating that, to some extent, generalization of pain is related to catastrophizing thoughts.
Conclusion: Widespread pain was associated with negative consequences with respect to pain intensity, prevalence of other symptoms including depressive symptoms, some aspects of coping, life satisfaction and general health.

Lay Abstract


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