Pain Psychology

What is pain psychology?

Pain psychology is the subdiscipline of clinical psychology and clinical health psychology investigating science and clinical practice of pain medicine. The foundational paradigm for pain psychology is the interaction of neurological sensitization from tissue damage with affective/emotional and cognitive/discriminatory factors resulting in the pain experience. This model is based upon the definition of pain adopted by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP, 1979): pain is “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience.” The literature has demonstrated there are connections between sensory, emotional and cognitive regions of the brain in the final integration of pain phenomena into consciousness. Pain psychology includes protocols for the psychological assessment (including testing) and treatment of patients with pain.


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