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Psychology of pain – Four pictures

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Four educational cartoon images in A3 format of pain psychology. Helps the patient to better understand how thoughts and feelings increases or decreases the pain.

SKU: 1004 Category:


Frame the drawings and put them on the wall in your clinic. Preferably in an area where there is not much going on. In a quiet area, where the patient can look at the drawings not being disturbed. Now the person can observe the drawing and reflect on what the drawing is saying. The person is mirroring her/himself in the drawing, maybe recognizing him/herself. When the patient start to talk about how he/she interpret the information from the drawing, you can add information to what the person is telling you. It is better to guide the patient instead of explaining. This is biopsychosocial form of communication avoiding the problem of stigmatization. When you purchase these drawings (A3 format) you will also receive a pdf with an explanatory text that you can print and give to your patient. In this way you can use the drawings as a tool combined with other methods/techniques you use helping patients in pain.

Picture 1 - Fear avoidance versus endurance behaviour (physical overactivation)

smärtans psykologi 1The drawn picture show how a person ignore the pain using pain killers and antiinflammatory drugs continuing with the activity. You do not listen to your body pushing into the pain, hoping that the pain eventually will disappear. In the short term this behaviour is positive but in the long term it can be detrimental resulting in negative sensitization processeses, long term pain and a burn out syndrome.

Picture 2 - Fear of movement

smärtans psykologi 2When the pain does not go away you start to worry. You change behaviour from being overactive to “I do not know what to do” behaviour. From pushing into pain being active, you develop an insecurity/fear of movement. You stop doing activities that before were important and meaningful. Thus, fear of movement can be a larger problem than pain itself. To be on the safe side, you even stop doing activities that you now believe can be harmful, but in fact is not.

Picture 3 – Low mood and depression

smärtans psykologi 3When the pain takes all the energy you stop doing activities that before were meaningful. You become less social active. Stopping doing things that before was enjoyable is a sign of depression. Life is now lived in slow motion. You have no energy to be with friends and family. You now live a passive life. The pain takes all the energy. Theres is a clear link between long term pain and depression.

Picture 4 – “What if” thoughts

smärtans psykologi 4When the pain is continuing it starts to occupy a major part of your thoughts. You are more worried and listen more to your body`s own perception that something is wrong. You may be afraid that the pain never will go away, which again makes you think about the pain all the time (rumination). The pain literally grows inside your brain (magnification). From being active, you now experience a form of helplessness regarding your pain (fear of movement, low mood and depression).


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