The psychology of pain

Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2005 May;23(2):339-48. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2004.12.005.


Emotional and evaluative issues are very important in the evaluation and treatment of pain. Treating the physical pain alone can leave these issues unresolved, and possibly exacerbate them through reinforcement. Understanding the impact of fear, expectations, and attention can help physicians deal more effectively with acute pain. Psychological issues are particularly prominent in chronic pain. Though acute care physicians may not be treating these psychological conditions, they can help by referring patients to the appropriate psychological or multidisciplinary setting.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Association
  • Attention
  • Chronic Disease
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Memory
  • Mood Disorders / complications
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Pain / complications
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / drug therapy
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain Threshold / psychology
  • Somatoform Disorders / complications
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology


  • Analgesics, Opioid