Redefining (somatoform) pain disorder in ICD-10: a compromise of different interest groups in Germany

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2008 Mar;21(2):178-81. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e3282f4cdf2.


Purpose of review: Pain is one of the most frequent reasons to visit health professionals. Many patients suffering from chronic pain conditions not only need medical treatment but also psychiatric or psychological interventions. This additional treatment need should be underlined using an ICD section F diagnosis. The current ICD-10 diagnosis of somatoform pain disorder requests psychological causation of the pain, which is frequently unclear or difficult to decide.

Recent findings: In Germany, the different interest groups, namely of psychiatry, pain research, psychosomatic medicine and clinical psychology, met to find a consensus on how to re-classify pain disorder under section F of ICD-10. This manuscript summarizes the result.

Summary: A diagnosis of pain disorder is necessary to underline the additional need of psychiatric/psychological interventions in chronic pain conditions. This diagnosis should include psychological features that are relevant for development or maintenance of chronic pain. In contrast to earlier attempts of redefining pain diagnoses, our attempt included representatives of the association for the study of pain.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Consensus*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases*
  • Pain / classification*
  • Pain / diagnosis*
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Somatoform Disorders / classification*
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology