Thursday, September 22nd
Exploring Triggers of the Stress Response and its Association with Pain Outcomes in Various Chronic Pain Populations
It is well documented that pain generates stress and is influenced by stress. There is a vast body of literature documenting the role of numerous psychosocial factors in the development/maintenance of chronic pain. However these factors are rarely examined in conjunction with specific characteristics of pain that might directly influence the extent to which pain is perceived as threatening.
The general stress literature converges on 4 distinctive characteristics that trigger an acute cortisol response: Sense of Control, social-evaluative Threat (ego), Unpredictability, and Novelty (i.e. “STUN”). This presentation will review evidence that these stress characteristics adequately capture the stressful nature of pain and might interact with individual psychosocial predispositions to influence one’s appraisal and mal(adaptive) psychological responses to pain . These characteristics will be presented in a new theoretical understanding of pain that might allow for a true integration of psychosocial models and neuro-psycho-endocrinological mechanisms of pain.