Three factors that influence pain

8 min. reading time

Chronic pain is nowadays seen as a problem in which an awful lot of factors can play a role. Good practitioners therefore work together in teams where professionals from different backgrounds work together and do not only focus on their own field of expertise. 

The model that practitioners work with is called the 'biopsychosocial' model. This means that a practitioner, or treatment team, takes biological, psychological and social factors into account. By learning to recognise these factors yourself, you will be able to assess where treatment options still lie ahead of you!


One could say that the biology part of the model mainly looks at the body. This will usually be done by one or more doctors. It looks at whether there is damage and whether the pain can be (partly) explained by physical causes. 

In terms of treatment, mainly medication is prescribed, or surgery can be performed. Or other medical devices are used, which are sometimes placed in the body. 

Another part of biology, is improving the condition of your body itself. For example, by training or losing weight.


The 'psychology' component is broad. It includes thinking, doing, feeling and attention. It is therefore not the case that only a psychologist is involved. Usually a doctor or physiotherapist will be the first person to look at the adjustments you can make in life. Or who will work with you to see how you can improve your pain in other ways.

Treatments in which psychological factors play a role mainly focus on how you can make adjustments in life yourself. It's all about motivation, and how you use the motivation to change certain patterns in life. Learning about pain plays an important role in this!

Usually there is a lot of space here. It is customary to first look at biological factors in case of prolonged pain. However, it often happens (unfortunately) that too little effort is put into changing life when a medical approach does not work.

Three factors that influence pain

Social environment

There are many social factors that play a role in pain. Do you get support, how does your partner react to your pain, how does the environment deal with it? The social environment can be a great help with pain problems, but it can also sometimes (unconsciously) perpetuate them. For example, I often see partners taking over (too) many tasks from someone in pain. But also whether someone has a job, and what kind of work that is, has a lot of influence on pain.

Although profits can often be made here, very little attention is paid to social factors in pain treatments. During a pain treatment, a person may experience a lot of help and support from practitioners and possibly fellow sufferers, which disappears when a treatment is completed.

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