Perceived injustice helps explain the association between chronic pain stigma and movement-evoked pain in adults with nonspecific chronic low back pain

Academic Article


  • Objective. For most patients with chronic low back pain (cLBP), the cause is "nonspecific,"meaning there is no clear association between pain and identifiable pathology of the spine or associated tissues. Laypersons and providers alike are less inclined to help, feel less sympathy, dislike patients more, suspect deception, and attribute lower pain severity to patients whose pain does not have an objective basis in tissue pathology. Because of these stigmatizing responses from others, patients with cLBP may feel that their pain is particularly unjust and unfair. These painrelated injustice perceptions may subsequently contribute to greater cLBP severity. The purpose of this study was to examine whether perceived injustice helps explain the relationship between chronic pain stigma and movementevoked pain severity among individuals with cLBP. Methods. Participants included 105 patients with cLBP who completed questionnaires assessing chronic pain stigma and pain-related injustice perception, as well as a short physical performance battery for the assessment of movement-evoked pain and physical function. Results. Findings revealed that perceived injustice significantly mediated the association between chronic pain stigma and cLBP severity (indirect effect = 6.64, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.041 to 14.913) and physical function (indirect effect =-0.401, 95% CI =-1.029 to-0.052). Greater chronic pain stigma was associated with greater perceived injustice (P = 0.001), which in turn was associated with greater movement-evoked pain severity (P = 0.003). Conclusions. These results suggest that perceived injustice may be a means through which chronic pain stigma impacts nonspecific cLBP severity and physical function.
  • Published In

  • Pain Medicine  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Penn TM; Overstreet DS; Aroke EN; Rumble DD; Sims AM; Kehrer CV; Michl AN; Hasan FN; Quinn TL; Long DL
  • Start Page

  • 3161
  • End Page

  • 3171
  • Volume

  • 21
  • Issue

  • 11