Psychological aspects of chronic musculoskeletal pain

Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2015 Feb;29(1):147-55. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2015.04.027. Epub 2015 May 21.


Chronic musculoskeletal pain, by its very nature, is associated with negative emotions and psychological distress. There are individual differences in personality, coping skills, behavioral adaptation, and social support that dramatically alter the psychological outcomes of patients with chronic pain. Patients who have an aspect of central pain amplification associated with mechanical or inflammatory pain and patients with fibromyalgia (FM) are likely to exhibit higher levels of psychological distress and illness behaviors. This manuscript discusses several different constructs for the association between chronic pain, central pain amplification, and psychological distress. The first key question addresses mechanisms shared in common between chronic pain and mood disorders, including the individual factors that influence psychological comorbidity, and the second addresses how pain affects mood and vice versa. Finally, the utility of cognitive behavioral approaches in the management of chronic pain symptoms is discussed.

Keywords: Depression; Fibromyalgia; Pain; Psychological.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Pain / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / psychology*