Selected cognitive abilities of subpopulations of chronic pain patients and controls
Ostrovsky, Mary A.
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The identification and treatment of pain has been a problem for centuries. While medical science has made significant gains in the treatment of pain symptoms, many patients continue to suffer from pain beyond the average time needed for healing or without sufficient pathophysiology to account for the symptoms. Chronic pain is defined as pain persisting for more than three months from the onset of trauma or disease process. Based on this definition, 75 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain. Although voluminous literature on the generalized topic of chronic pain exists, there is a shortage of research on the cognitive functioning of chronic pain patients. To date, only two studies have examined the relationship between chronic pain and minor head injury. However, related research on individuals presenting spinal cord injury has established the presence of concomitant spinal cord and head injuries. The presence of minor head injury in the spinal cord injured patient has been described as having an effect on the patient's subsequent rehabilitation process. Thus, further research on the relationship between minor head injury and the cognitive functioning of chronic pain patients is needed.