Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Pain Anxiety

  • Michael James Coons
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_1156

Synonyms

Definition

Pain anxiety is a future-oriented state of autonomic arousal that is triggered by the anticipation of pain. Similar to the tripartite model of anxiety, it is comprised of cognitive, physiological, and behavioral components. Pain anxiety is an affective manifestation of the autonomic nervous system that occurs in response to the anticipation of pain. Albeit to a lesser degree than that triggered by fear, the sympathetic nervous system becomes activated by the septo-hippocampal brain regions. Pain anxiety is characterized by cognitive, physiological, and behavioral symptoms. Cognitively, individuals become hypervigilant for pain-related cues by internally scanning their body (for internal signs and symptoms of pain) and the environment (for pain-inducing contexts or stimuli). They also anticipate experiencing pain in the future and may often expect their pain to be catastrophic (e.g., “Having to get my tooth fixed at the dentist will be...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. Asmundson, G. J. G., Norton, P. J., & Vlaeyen, W. S. (2004). Fear-avoidance models of chronic pain: An overview. In G. J. G. Asmundson, J. W. S. Vlaeyen, & G. Crombez (Eds.), Understanding and treating fear of pain (pp. 3–24). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. de Williams, A. C., & McCracken, L. M. (2004). Cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic pain: An overview with specific reference to fear avoidance. In G. J. G. Asmundson, J. W. S. Vlaeyen, & G. Crobez (Eds.), Understanding and treating fear of pain (pp. 293–312). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. McNeil, D. W., & Vowles, K. E. (2004). Assessment of fear and anxiety associated with pain: Conceptualization, methods, and measures. In G. J. G. Asmundson, J. W. S. Vlaeyen, & G. Crombez (Eds.), Understanding and treating fear of pain (pp. 189–211). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Preventive MedicineFeinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA