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Three factors that influence pain

Chronic pain is now seen as a problem in which a great many factors can play a role. Good practitioners, therefore, work in teams where professionals from different backgrounds collaborate and do not just focus on their own area of expertise. 

The model that practitioners work with is called a "biopsychosocial" model. This means that a practitioner or treatment team considers biological, psychological, and social factors. Learning to recognize these factors will help you assess for yourself what treatment options lie ahead!


You could say that the biological part of the model deals mainly with the body. This is usually done by one or more doctors. It looks to see if there is damage and if the pain can be explained (in part) by physical causes. 

Treatment mainly involves prescribing medications, or surgery may be performed. Or other medical devices are used, sometimes inserted into the body. 

Another part of biology is to improve the condition of the body itself. For example, by exercising or losing weight.


The "psychology" factor is broad. It includes thinking, doing, feeling and paying attention. So it is not that only a psychologist is involved. Usually a doctor or physical therapist will be the first person to look at what changes you can make in your life. Or he will work with you to see how you can improve your pain in other ways.

Treatments that involve psychological factors focus mainly on how you can make adjustments in life yourself. It's about motivation and how you use motivation to change certain patterns in your life. Learning about pain plays an important role in this!

There is usually a lot of room here. It is common to look at biological factors first when dealing with long-lasting pain. However, it often happens (unfortunately) that too little effort is made to change lives 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 on (too) many tasks from someone with pain. But also, whether someone has a job, and what kind of job that is, has a big impact on pain.

Although there are often gains to be made here, very little attention is paid to social factors in pain treatments. During pain treatment, a person may experience a lot of help and support from treatment providers and possibly fellow sufferers, which disappears once treatment is over.

Three factors that influence pain

More guidance on how to decrease your pain