Press Release: EFIC 2013: Partners of pain sufferers shoulder a heavy burden
The spouses of people suffering from chronic pain not only face an elevated risk of developing pain themselves. There is also a relationship between symptoms of helplessness, anxiety and depression in pain sufferers and in their caregivers. These points are highlighted by a number of studies presented at the Congress of the European Pain Federation EFIC in Florence.
Women whose spouses are being treated for musculoskeletal pain have a tendency to develop such conditions themselves, according to research carried out at Keele University in Stoke-on-Trent, UK. The findings were presented at the Congress of the European Pain Federation EFIC which is taking place in the Italian city of Florence. “Possible explanations for this include the fact that married couples are exposed to similar environments, and they might also develop shared illness beliefs. Social factors and the role of partners should be taken into account when treating sufferers of musculoskeletal pain,” commented study author Dr Paul Campbell.
The researchers analysed data from a total of 27,014 people, 31% or 8,292 of whom suffered from pain in the musculoskeletal system. The probability of wives seeking treatment for similar complaints to their husbands was highest in cases of shoulder disorders.
Interaction between emotional symptoms
A Dutch-Iranian research team presenting its findings at the EFIC Congress in Florence reported a significant degree of correlation between chronic pain patients’ estimates of past, present and future pain and those of family caregivers. The researchers also found that there was a relationship between symptoms of helplessness, anxiety and depression in pain sufferers and in their caregivers. “There seems to be an interactive system at work in which the perceptions and emotions of patients and carers have a strong mutual influence. This suggests that relatives ought to be closely involved in treatment programmes,” said Dr Somayyeh Mohammadi of the University Medical Center Groningen, one of the authors of the study.
Sources: EFIC Abstract Campbell et al, The influence of partners on musculoskeletal consultations in primary care patients; EFIC Abstract Gregoire et al, Pain assesment and empathic accuracy in spouses of patients with chronic pain; EFIC Abstract Mohammadi et al, The effects of living with chronic pain on patients and their main family
EFIC Press Office:
Dr Birgit Kofler
Ph. after the Congress: +43-1-319 43 78-13