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      Gaining insights on the influence of attention, anxiety, and anticipation on pain perception

      ,

      Journal of Pain Research

      Dove Medical Press

      distractions, pain attenuation, sensory focusing, trait anxiety

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          Abstract

          Purpose

          This article highlights the influence of attention and pain anticipation on pain attenuation. Pain-related trait anxiety was found to moderate the effect that attention strategies impose on pain perception. This article may contribute to clinical treatments quality, where pain attenuation effect is desired.

          Participants and methods

          One hundred seven participants, comprising of 72 (67%) females and 35 (33%) males between the age of 17 and 48 (M=22.6, SD =4.36), were used in the analysis. The current study measured the effect of pain anticipation and attention on three aspects of pain perception: threshold, tolerance, and perceived pain intensity. Pain anticipation was manipulated by varying the amount of information given to participants about a future pain stimulus. Attention was manipulated through a sensory focusing task and a distraction task. Participants were randomized into 1) InfoControl group with distraction task trial (n=30), 2) InfoControl group with attention to pain trial (n=26), 3) InfoExtra group with distraction task trial (n=26), or 4) InfoExtra group with attention to pain trial (n=25). The pain stimulus was delivered in a form of heat. The moderating effects of pain-related trait anxiety on these variables were also investigated using Pain Anxiety Symptom Scale Short Form.

          Results

          Two structural equation models revealed that anticipation is not a predictor of pain perception and neither did it interact with pain-related trait anxiety. However, attention strategies do significantly relate to pain perception. Furthermore, pain-related anxiety was a significant moderator of attention and pain attenuation. These findings imply that the effectiveness of attention strategies in attenuating pain is affected by individuals’ pain-related trait anxiety.

          Conclusion

          The results suggest the importance of appointing the appropriate attention strategy to different individuals with varying level of trait anxiety. Future explorations are necessary to develop a more specific understanding on the nature of information and distractions on pain perception.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 56

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          Fear-avoidance model of chronic pain: the next generation.

          The fear-avoidance (FA) model of chronic pain describes how individuals experiencing acute pain may become trapped into a vicious circle of chronic disability and suffering. We propose to extend the FA model by adopting a motivational perspective on chronic pain and disability. A narrative review. There is ample evidence to support the validity of the FA model as originally formulated. There are, however, some key challenges that call for a next generation of the FA model. First, the FA model has its roots in psychopathology, and investigators will have to find a way to account for findings that do not easily fit within such framework. Second, the FA model needs to address the dynamics and complexities of disability and functional recovery. Third, the FA model should incorporate the idea that pain-related fear and avoidance occurs in a context of multiple and often competing personal goals. To address these 3 key challenges, we argue that the next generation of the FA model needs to more explicitly adopt a motivational perspective, one that is built around the organizing powers of goals and self-regulatory processes. Using this framework, the FA model is recast as capturing the persistent but futile attempts to solve pain-related problems to protect and restore life goals.
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            Towards a theory of chronic pain.

            In this review, we integrate recent human and animal studies from the viewpoint of chronic pain. First, we briefly review the impact of chronic pain on society and address current pitfalls of its definition and clinical management. Second, we examine pain mechanisms via nociceptive information transmission cephalad and its impact and interaction with the cortex. Third, we present recent discoveries on the active role of the cortex in chronic pain, with findings indicating that the human cortex continuously reorganizes as it lives in chronic pain. We also introduce data emphasizing that distinct chronic pain conditions impact on the cortex in unique patterns. Fourth, animal studies regarding nociceptive transmission, recent evidence for supraspinal reorganization during pain, the necessity of descending modulation for maintenance of neuropathic behavior, and the impact of cortical manipulations on neuropathic pain is also reviewed. We further expound on the notion that chronic pain can be reformulated within the context of learning and memory, and demonstrate the relevance of the idea in the design of novel pharmacotherapies. Lastly, we integrate the human and animal data into a unified working model outlining the mechanism by which acute pain transitions into a chronic state. It incorporates knowledge of underlying brain structures and their reorganization, and also includes specific variations as a function of pain persistence and injury type, thereby providing mechanistic descriptions of several unique chronic pain conditions within a single model.
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              • Article: not found

              Keeping pain in mind: a motivational account of attention to pain.

              Attention is a key concept in many theories of pain perception. A clinically popular idea is that pain is more intense in persons who are hypervigilant for or bias their attention to pain information. So far, evidence for such bias in pain patients as compared to healthy persons is inconclusive. Furthermore, studies investigating the effects of distracting attention away from pain have shown contradictory results. In this review, we present a motivational perspective on attentional processing of pain that accounts for these inconclusive research findings. We argue that pain always has to be considered within a context of goal pursuit. From this perspective, two largely unexplored theoretical assumptions are introduced. First, when pain occurs during the pursuit of a certain goal, it may unintentionally capture attention although it is not relevant for the goal. Whether such unintentional attentional capture happens is not only dependent upon the characteristics of the pain but also on the characteristics of the focal goal. Second, attention to pain and pain-related information might be driven by a focal goal related to pain. Attentional processing of pain information will be particularly enhanced when the focal goal is related to pain management (e.g., attempting to gain control). Future research should systematically investigate the role of motivation and goal pursuit in the attentional processing of pain-related information. This motivational perspective offers a powerful framework to explain inter- and intra-individual differences in the deployment of attention to pain-related information.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                1178-7090
                2019
                01 March 2019
                : 12
                : 851-864
                Affiliations
                Psychology Department, James Cook University, Singapore, bridget.mcconnell@ 123456jcu.edu.au
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Bridget L McConnell, James Cook University, 149 Sims Drive, Singapore 387380, Tel +65 6709 3733, Fax +65 6709 3889, Email bridget.mcconnell@ 123456jcu.edu.au
                Article
                jpr-12-851
                10.2147/JPR.S176889
                6402711
                © 2019 Chayadi and McConnell. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Categories
                Original Research

                Anesthesiology & Pain management

                trait anxiety, sensory focusing, pain attenuation, distractions

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