Key Question for Chronic Pain Sufferers

July 1, 2006

What key question can you ask patients with chronic pain that may help lead you to a diagnosis?

 

Patients with chronic pain syndromes (such as chronic abdominal pain, chronic back pain, or chronic headaches) can present a real challenge. Often they have had exhaustive workups by specialists to no avail. A simple tactic that I often find productive is to ask such patients whether they have a history of traumatic abuse (sexual abuse or serious emotional or physical abuse). An affirmative answer may suggest somatoform disorder, stemming from the abuse.

- Hien Nguyen, MD
    Fairfax, Va

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