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Medical News & Perspectives
August 28, 2002

Effective Pain Treatment Promotes Activities

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JAMA. 2002;288(8):948-949. doi:10.1001/jama.288.8.948-JMN0828-3-1

Philadelphia—"Pain is whatever the patient says it is, and exists whenever the patient says it does," asserted Michel Dubois, MD.

"The patient's self-report is the single most reliable indicator of pain and its intensity," said Dubois, who directs the pain management center at New York University Medical Center.

Chronic pain typically spawns a constellation of somatic and psychological symptoms: it hijacks a person's attention, diminishing concentration and impairing memory. Pain sufferers become irritable and anxious. They sleep poorly and feel fatigued during waking hours. Some stop work or leave school, and withdraw from family and social interactions.