Biopsychosocial Model of Pain and Its Relevance to Chiropractors

Henry P. Pollard, Katie E. Hardy, Deborah Curtin

Chiropractic Journal of Australia vol 36 Number 3, Sept. 2006


Objective: To present and discuss the biopsychosocial model of pain and its relevance to chiropractors.

Data Sources: The current scientific literature was examined using the MEDLINE database and Mantis databases.

Study Selection: Searches of the term biopsychosocial in the literature resulted in 1622 journal citations. This number was reduced with additional searches; 112 citations satisfied the final search criteria and pertained to the discussion.

Data Extraction: The journals were selected based on relevance to the biopsychosocial model of pain, acute and chronic pain states, operant and cognitive behavioural principles and the human response to stressful stimuli.

Discussion Synthesis: From the literature, we found that pain has traditionally been reported as an elusive condition with numerous causes. Many variables influence pain behaviours and include the biological, physiological and psychological. These factors appear to be interrelated and provide a basis for a holistic biopsychosocial approach to the management of pain in a patient-centered approach to care.

Conclusion: The application of principles inherent in biopsychosocial model of pain should receive widespread acknowledgement and utilization by chiropractors. It is only with the appropriate inclusion of mind-body approaches to management that the full impact of pain and disease may be addressed. Further research is warranted to test the usefulness of mind-body approaches in the delivery of chiropractic services.

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