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Papers of the Week

Papers: 6 Aug 2022 - 12 Aug 2022

2022 Aug 05

Pain Ther

Stigma and Chronic Pain.


Perugino F, De Angelis V, Pompili M, Martelletti P
Pain Ther. 2022 Aug 05.
PMID: 35930220.


Stigma is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "a mark of shame, disgrace or disapproval that results in an individual being rejected, discriminated against and excluded from participating in a number of different areas of society". Extensive literature searches have documented stigma in the context of health. Among the physical health conditions that are associated with stigma, chronic pain deserves particular attention. Stigma experienced by individuals with chronic pain affects their entire life. Literature identifies multiple dimensions or types of stigma, including public stigma, structural stigma and internalized stigma. Recent literature supports the biopsychosocial model of pain, according to which biological, psychological and sociocultural variables interact in a dynamic manner to shape an individual's response to chronic pain. Chronic pain affects a higher proportion of women than men around the world. There is an inadequate education of health care professionals regarding pain assessment and their insecurity to manage patients with chronic pain. A first-line intervention strategy could be to promote pain education and to expand knowledge and assessment of chronic pain, as recently highlighted for headache disorders, paradigmatically for resistant or refractory migraine, whose diagnosis, without an adequate education to understand the possible fluctuations of the disease, may have profound psychological implications with the idea of insolvability and contribute to stigmatizing the patient.