Pain catastrophizing has been described for more than half a century which adversely affects the pain coping behavior and overall prognosis in susceptible individuals when challenged by painful conditions. It is a distinct phenomenon which is characterized by feelings of helplessness, active rumination and excessive magnification of cognitions and feelings toward the painful situation. Susceptible subjects may have certain demographic or psychological predisposition. Various models of pain catastrophizing have been proposed which include attention-bias, schema-activation, communal-coping and appraisal models. Nevertheless, consensus is still lacking as to the true nature and mechanisms for pain catastrophizing. Recent advances in population genomics and noninvasive neuroimaging have helped elucidate the known determinants and neurophysiological correlates behind this potentially disabling behavior.
Keywords: Disability; pain catastrophizing; rehabilitation; review.